Myanmar protests continue a day after more than 100 killed
Protesters in Myanmar returned to the streets Sunday to press their demands for a return to democracy, just a day after security forces killed more than 100 people in the bloodiest day since last month's military coup. Protests were held in Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s two biggest cities, as well as elsewhere. Some of the demonstrations were again met with police force. At least 114 people were killed Saturday as security forces cracked down on protests against the Feb. 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government, according to the online news service Myanmar Now. The reported fatalities included several children under 16 years old. Also read: 93 killed in one of deadliest days since Myanmar coup Similar tallies of the death toll were issued by other Myanmar media and researchers, far exceeding the previous highest death toll on March 14. The number of killings since the coup is now more than 420, according to multiple counts. The coup reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule and has again made Myanmar the focus of international scrutiny. The Saturday killings by police and soldiers took place throughout the country as Myanmar’s military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the country’s capital, Naypyitaw. The bloodshed quickly drew international condemnation, both from diplomatic missions within Myanmar and from abroad. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was shocked by the killings of civilians, including children. “The continuing military crackdown is unacceptable and demands a firm, unified & resolute international response,” he wrote on Twitter. Also read: 320 killed in Myanmar military's crackdowns on protests, group says In the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a tweet that his country was “horrified by the bloodshed perpetrated by Burmese security forces, showing that the junta will sacrifice the lives of the people to serve the few.” The military chiefs of 12 nations issued a joint statement condemning the use of force against unarmed people. “A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting — not harming — the people it serves,” it said. “We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions. The statement was issued by the defense chiefs of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. The human rights group Amnesty International revived criticism that the international community was not doing enough to end the state violence in Myanmar. “U.N. Security Council member states’ continued refusal to meaningfully act against this never-ending horror is contemptible,” said Ming Yu Hah, the organization’s deputy regional director for campaigns. Also read: Myanmar crackdown: UN chief demands firm, unified and resolute international response The Security Council has condemned the violence but not advocated concerted action against the junta, such as a ban on selling it arms. China and Russia are both major arms suppliers to Myanmar’s military as well as politically sympathetic, and as members of the council would almost certainly veto any such move. In recent days the junta has portrayed the demonstrators as the ones perpetrating violence for their sporadic use of Molotov cocktails. On Saturday, some protesters in Yangon were seen carrying bows and arrows. It has said its use of force has been justified to stop what it has called rioting.
93 killed in one of deadliest days since Myanmar coup
Myanmar security forces reportedly killed 93 people Saturday in the deadliest day since last month’s military coup. A count issued by an independent researcher in Yangon who has been compiling near real-time death tolls put the total as darkness fell at 93, spread over more than two dozen cities and towns. The online news site Myanmar Now reported the death toll had reached 91. Both numbers are higher than all estimates for the previous high on March 14, which ranged from 74 to 90. Figures collected by the researcher, who asked not to be named for his security, have generally tallied with the counts issued at the end of each day by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests and is widely seen as a definitive source. Also read: 320 killed in Myanmar military's crackdowns on protests, group says As Myanmar’s military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade Saturday in the country’s capital, soldiers and police elsewhere reportedly killed dozens of people as they suppressed protests against last month’s coup. The killings quickly drew international condemnation, with multiple diplomatic missions to Myanmar releasing statements that mentioned the killing of civilians Saturday, including children. “This 76th Myanmar armed forces day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour,” the European Union’s delegation to Myanmar said on Twitter. “The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts." The death toll in Myanmar has been steadily rising as authorities grow more forceful with their suppression of opposition to the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The coup reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Up through Friday, the Association of Political Prisoners had verified 328 people killed in the post-coup crackdown. The highest daily death toll had been at least 74 people on March 14, but on that occasion all but a handful of deaths were in Yangon, the country’s biggest city. Junta chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing did not directly refer to the protest movement when he gave his nationally televised Armed Forces Day speech before thousands of soldiers in Naypyitaw. He referred only to “terrorism which can be harmful to state tranquility and social security,” and called it unacceptable. This year’s event was seen as a flashpoint for violence, with demonstrators threatening to double down on their public opposition to the coup with more and bigger demonstrations. The protesters refer to the holiday by its original name, Resistance Day, which marks the beginning of a revolt against Japanese occupation in World War 2. State television MRTV on Friday night showed an announcement urging young people — who have been at the forefront of the protests and prominent among the casualties — to learn a lesson from those killed during demonstrations about the danger of being shot in the head or back. Also read: Protests in Myanmar as junta chief marks Armed Forces Day The warning was widely taken as a threat because a great number of the fatalities among protesters have come from being shot in the head, suggesting they have been targeted for death. The announcement suggested that some young people were taking part in protesting as if it was a game, and urged their parents and friends to talk them out of participating. In recent days the junta has portrayed the demonstrators as the ones perpetrating violence for their sporadic use of Molotov cocktails. In contrast, security forces have used live ammunition for weeks against overwhelmingly unarmed and peaceful crowds. The military government does not issue regular casualty counts, and when it has released figures, the totals have been a fraction of what independent parties such as the U.N. have reported. It has said its use of force has been justified to stop what it has called rioting. In his speech Saturday, Min Aung Hlaing used the occasion to try to justify the overthrow of Suu Kyi’s government, accusing it of failing to investigate irregularities in last November’s general election, and repeating that his government would hold “a free and fair election” and hand over power afterward. The military has claimed there were irregularities in the voting rolls for the last election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide. Also read: Myanmar: Protests erupt again amid a show of force by coup leaders The junta detained Suu Kyi on the day it took power, and continues to hold her on minor criminal charges while investigating allegations of corruption against her that her supporters dismiss as politically motivated. Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch, said Saturday's events showed that the military, known in Myanmar as the Tatmadaw, should be prosecuted in international courts of law. “This is a day of suffering and mourning for the Burmese people, who have paid for the Tatmadaw’s arrogance and greed with their lives, time and time again,” he said.
Woman shot dead during protests in Myanmar: local media
A woman who was participating in a demonstration against the Feb. 1 coup was shot dead Saturday in Monywa in the central part of the country, local media reported.
Myanmar urged to release Suu Kyi, HR defenders detained in military coup
The Myanmar military should immediately and unconditionally release State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, government ministers, members of parliament, and human rights defenders detained in early morning nationwide raids, said Fortify Rights on Monday.
US calls for Suu Kyi's release, respect for vote
The Latest on Myanmar after the military said it was taking control for one year (all times local):
Military takes control of Myanmar; Suu Kyi reported detained
Myanmar military television said Monday that the military was taking control of the country for one year, while reports said many of the country’s senior politicians including Aung San Suu Kyi had been detained.