Strikes grip Myanmar, protesters defy warnings

Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Myanmar on Monday (February 22) in defiance of a warning from the military.

Demonstrations were staged in towns and cities across the country, despite the junta saying any confrontation could cost more lives.

Businesses across the country were shut as workers downed their tools in a general strike called to oppose the military coup.

It's been three weeks since the army seized power and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Since then, there have been near daily protests and a civil disobedience movement has been gaining strength.

As well as local stores, international chains announced closures on Monday including KFC and Food Panda.

Protester Kyaw Kyaw said he did not care about losing his salary.

"We don't want to stay under the control of a military dictatorship. So, we came here to join the protest regardless of the salaries we make. Nothing will happen (to me) if my salary is cut but if we stay under the control of a military dictatorship, we will become their slaves."

On Sunday (February 21), hundreds of people attended the funeral of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing in the capital.

She has became a symbol of resistance after being shot in the head while protesting earlier this month.

Two more protesters were killed on Saturday (February 20) when police opened fire in what was the bloodiest day since the movement began.

Monday's protesters carried signs vowing to not allow their deaths to be in vain.

One banner read - "Value their sacrifices, they gave lives for the country's democracy.'