DANTONG, Myanmar — Myanmar’s capital will close for 10 months as a “troubling” protest over a military crackdown has put a crimp in the government’s economic recovery, the head of a local development agency said Wednesday.
In a statement, the Development Authority of Dantongs (DAAD) said the move was to avoid the “excessive” impact of the protests on the local economy.
The protests have been the most visible manifestation of a decades-long discontent with the government that began in 2013, and which is widely seen as an attempt to take power from a military junta and bring democracy and rule of law.
Dantong has been a key economic hub in Myanmar, with its rich rice fields and rice paddies providing essential livelihoods for tens of millions of people.
The city has a population of nearly 5 million, which makes it one of the countrys most densely populated.
But Dantang’s economic growth has stagnated in recent years, with local officials blaming the protests for a drop in property values and the collapse of local businesses.
In the past two years, more than 1,300 people have been killed, according to the country’s National Bureau of Statistics.
Thousands of people have also been arrested.
In recent months, government officials have sought to stifle the protests, arresting hundreds of protesters in an effort to control the protests and quell the demonstrations.
The protesters have taken to the streets to demand the removal of President Thein Sein and to demand greater political and economic freedoms, as well as to demand better governance, rights and social services, including free elections and free media.
Some protesters have said they will stage a second uprising next week, as the government seeks to rein in the protests.