Opponents of the military rule have marked the one-year anniversary of the army’s seizure of power with a nationwide strike to show their strength and solidarity amid international concerns.

A “silent strike” sought to empty Myanmar's streets by having people stay home and businesses shut their doors from 10 to 4 local time.
A “silent strike” sought to empty Myanmar's streets by having people stay home and businesses shut their doors from 10 to 4 local time. (AFP)

Streets have emptied and shops shuttered across Myanmar as people defy junta orders to go about their business with a silent strike on the first anniversary of the military coup.

Security forces arrested dozens of people in a preemptive move to suppress plans for Tuesday's nationwide strike, state-run media reported. 

In addition, Myanmar's military rulers have threatened to jail the anti-coup protesters who take part in the strike.

But the streets of commercial hub Yangon began emptying at 10am (0330 GMT), a scene that repeated in second city Mandalay and southern Tanintharyi region.

Local media showed isolated flashmobs in Yangon and Mandalay, where protesters unfurled pro-democracy banners and set off flares. 

In comments published on Tuesday, junta chief Min Aung Hlaing repeated the military's claim that it had been forced to take power following election fraud by Aung San Suu Kyi's party in 2020 elections that international observers said were largely free and fair.

Fresh polls will be called once stability is restored, Min Aung Hlaing told the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

As people across Myanmar shut their shops and stayed home, video provided by the military authorities showed a crowd of people listening to speeches in a field before marching down streets in support of the generals in capital Naypyitaw.

READ MORE: Myanmar court sentences activists to death

Another trial for Suu Kyi

The United States, Britain and Canada unveiled coordinated sanctions on Myanmar officials on Monday, including those involved in Suu Kyi's trial.

Washington sanctioned Attorney General Thida Oo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo and Anti-Corruption Commission Chairman Tin Oo, all of whom it said were closely involved in the "politically motivated" prosecution of Suu Kyi.

"We are coordinating these actions with the United Kingdom and Canada ... to further promote accountability for the coup and the violence perpetrated by the regime," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.

Suu Kyi has already been sentenced to six years in prison for illegally importing and owning walkie talkies, incitement against the military and breaking Covid-19 rules.

The Nobel laureate faces a further trial on charges of influencing the country's election commission during the 2020 polls that saw her National League for Democracy party defeat a military-aligned rival. The case is expected to wrap up within six months. 

READ: Myanmar security arrest dozens ahead of protests

Source: TRTWorld and agencies