Myanmar generals hire lobbyist as anti-coup protests continue

Myanmar’s generals have hired a Canadian lobbying firm to help “explain the real situation” in the country, as security forces on Wednesday were engaged in a standoff at the staff compound of railway workers opposed to the February 1 coup and the United States said it was “repulsed” by the use of lethal force against protesters.

Footage posted on social media showed security forces gathered on the street near the railway staff compound, in an echo of the military’s efforts on Monday night to barricade protesters into Sanchaung, also in Yangon.

One person involved in the strike told the Reuters news agency by telephone they feared an imminent crackdown.

“I think they are going to arrest us. Please help us,” said the person, who asked to be identified only as Ma Su rather than their full name.

In a Facebook live broadcast from the area people chanted: “Are we staff united? Yes, we are united” and a commentator claimed police were trying to remove barricades and threatening to shoot.

Details could not be independently verified. Police and army officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The railway workers are part of a mass civil disobedience movement that is intended to cripple government business and bring about the restoration of the elected government of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

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