Opponents of military rule in Myanmar on Friday held one of their biggest nationally coordinated protests in months, successfully calling on people across the country to shut their businesses and stay at home on International Human Rights Day.

Iran PressAsia: The “silent strike” was staged in cities and towns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and came at a time of increasing violence in the political crisis triggered by the army’s seizure of power in February and the ouster of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Tuesday, there was a widely reported massacre in the country’s northwestern Sagaing region in which soldiers were accused of rounding up and killing 11 civilians whose charred bodies were later discovered by fellow villagers. The military-installed government has denied its soldiers were involved, but it is staging an offensive in northwestern Myanmar against persistent resistance from anti-military militias.

In Yangon, the country’s largest city, and elsewhere, photos on social media showed normally busy streets empty of traffic on Friday. Usually, crowded markets and plazas were quiet hours before the official start of the strike, which reaffirmed the widespread opposition to the army's rule and its disregard for human rights.

Min Han Htet, co-founder and spokesperson of the Alliance of Student Unions Yangon, said the strike by itself might not make a significant difference.

“But by showing their unity, the strike is a success for the people who are waging psychological warfare against the military dictatorship,” he said.

Solidarity appeared strong among operators of even the smallest shops in Yangon, but at least a few paid a price for their defiance, as photos posted on social media showed fittings such as tables and chairs confiscated by security forces from some.

Since Thursday, authorities had announced in some neighborhoods that action would be taken against shops that close without an acceptable reason.

Protesters wearing black attire, as suggested by strike organizers, marched silently in Shwebo in the Sagaing region. People at home, also dressed in black, posted selfies showing them holding small handmade posters.