Western countries are moving ahead to press the Myanmar junta to avoid a violent crackdown after weeks of protests. The European Union warned it is considering sanctions on Myanmar.
The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on two members of the junta – Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun and General Maung Maung Kyaw – and warned it could take more action.
The administration of President Joe Biden has previously imposed sanctions on the acting president of Myanmar and several military officers, as well as three companies in the jade and gems sector.
“The military must reverse its actions and urgently restore the democratically elected government,” the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said.
Overnight, EU governments showed support for those seeking to reverse the Feb. 1 coup and the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The European Union is looking at sanctions that would target businesses owned by the army. The bloc has however, ruled out any curtailing of its trade preferences to avoid hurting poor workers.
UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said millions had marched in a “breathtaking” turnout, despite the junta’s threat.
“The generals are losing their power to intimidate and with it, their power. It is past time for them to stand down, as the people of Myanmar stand up,” Andrews said on Twitter.
“We are not prepared to stand by and watch,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in Brussels, adding that sanctions could follow if diplomacy failed.
A general strike shut businesses in the Southeast Asian country on Monday as huge crowds gathered peacefully despite a warning from authorities that confrontation could get people killed.
Indonesia is pushing Southeast Asian neighbours to agree on a plan that would keep the junta to its promise of holding elections, with monitors to ensure they are fair and inclusive, three sources familiar with the proposal said.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has been rallying support among Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) members for a special meeting on the crisis.
But the plan from the biggest regional nation would fall short of protester demands for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and recognition of the November election result.
Britain, Germany and Japan have also condemned the violence in Myanmar and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged the military to stop repression.
Myanmar has denounced interference in its affairs. The country will be seeing more protests on Tuesday.
“This is complete denial of the will of Myanmar people. Have they not seen enough of the protests?” said one Twitter user identified as Zaw Min.
Social media users said a protest was planned in front of Indonesia’s embassy in Myanmar on Tuesday.