Conflicts & War

126 people killed in violent military crackdown since coup in Myanmar

Bangkok, Mar 15 (efe-epa).- A total of 126 people have lost their lives in violent crackdowns on protests against the Feb.1 military coup in Myanmar.

At least 38 people were killed on Sunday, according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Most of the deaths on Sunday occurred in Yangon, the country’s most populated city and former capital, where security forces fired live ammunition at protesters in at least nine neighborhoods.

In the Hlaing Thar Yar district of northwestern Yangon, 22 civilians died, more than 20 were wounded, three of them critically, following brutal repression by police and soldiers, AAPP reported on Monday.

On Sunday night, the military junta announced on state-run broadcaster MRTV that martial law was imposed in Hlaing Thar Yar.

Several factories in the district were burnt down on Sunday, according to the Myanmar Labour News website.

China’s embassy in Myanmar said on its Facebook page that some of the factories that were destroyed were Chinese businesses and urged the authorities to arrest the perpetrators and guarantee the safety of Chinese companies and staff.

Deaths were also recorded on Sunday in other cities in the country, including Bago, Mandalay, and Hpakant, from shots fired by security forces.

A total of 2,156 people have been arrested in the country since the coup, of which 319 have been released, according to AAPP.

The Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, on Sunday condemned the country’s continued attacks on pro-democracy protesters and urged the Myanmar military junta to heed the international community’s calls for dialog and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Schraner “strongly condemns the continuing bloodshed in the country as the military defies international calls, including from the Security Council, for restraint, dialogue and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms,” a statement read.

The statement said that the UN official had personally heard “heartbreaking” accounts of killings, mistreatment of demonstrators, and torture of prisoners in the last few hours.

“The ongoing brutality, including against medical personnel and destruction of public infrastructure, severely undermines any prospects for peace and stability,” the statement added.

Over the weekend, Myanmar’s offshoot civilian government, formed by elected lawmakers who were ousted by the Feb. 1 coup, vowed to continue the “revolution” to restore democracy in the country and pledged to seek to approve laws to grant people the right to defend themselves.

Protests taking place across the country reject the military junta’s power and demand that the military, which ruled the country between 1962 and 2011, restore democracy, recognize the results of the November election and release all those detained, including the de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Monday, Suu Kyi, who has been detained by the military since the day of the coup, is scheduled to appear in a Myanmar court for the third time.

New charges could be brought against her during the court appearance in addition to the four she already faces.

The military has justified taking power on grounds of alleged electoral fraud in November’s elections, in which international observers did not detect any wrongdoing and which resulted in a landslide victory for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party. EFE-EPA


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