Conflicts & War

At least 15 dead in fresh Myanmar violence as Pope urges dialog

Yangon, Myanmar, March 3 (efe-epa).- At least 15 people, including two minors, were shot dead Wednesday in Myanmar as authorities launched fresh crackdowns against coup protesters while Pope Francis urged that parties engage in peaceful dialog.

Despite security forces’ severe repression of demonstrations, which claimed the lives of at least 20 people Sunday, protests against the Feb. 1 military coup continued throughout the country.

The fatalities include six protesters in Yangon, five in the city of Monywa, two in Mandalay, one in MyinGyan and one in Salin.

The minors are a teenager who was shot in the head in MyanGyan, according to emergency teams, as well as another 17-year-old who died, according to local media Monywa Gazette, after police repression in Monywa.

In Monywa, about 130 kilometers west of Mandalay, a student who witnessed a crackdown there said at least six people were shot.

The toll was expected to rise.

In the most populated city of Yangon, the authorities repressed protests with tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades, dispersing protesters who returned to their demonstrations each time the situation calmed.

The Pope called for dialog against the repression in Myanmar and called for the release of imprisoned political leaders.

“I still receive sad news from Myanmar of bloody clashes with loss of human life. I wish to draw the attention of the authorities involved so that dialog prevails over repression and harmony over discord,” Francis said in a speech at the papal palace.

He also addressed “an appeal to the international community so that the aspirations of the Myanmar people are not stifled by violence and that the youth of that beloved land be given hope and a future where hatred and injustice leave room for togetherness and reconciliation.”

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