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World Myanmar authorities kill at least 38 protesters in bloodiest day since coup

13:11  04 march  2021
13:11  04 march  2021 Source:   abcnews.go.com

Killing of protesters fuels anti-coup demonstrations in Myanmar

  Killing of protesters fuels anti-coup demonstrations in Myanmar Three people have now been killed by security forces defending the military's takeover, but the deaths are only adding fuel to the pro-democracy movement's fire.The massive show of people power has yielded images that have gone viral on social media around the world, as peaceful demonstrators defied a foreboding warning from the military junta that seized power early this month.

At least 38 protesters were killed by authorities in Myanmar on Wednesday, marking the bloodiest day since the military seized power in an apparent coup last month, according to the United Nations' special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener.

Demonstrations have been taking place in cities across the Southeast Asian country since its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party were detained by the military on Feb. 1. The protest movement has been growing and the military junta, which calls itself the State Administration Council, has become increasingly violent in its response as weeks of internet shutdowns, threats and mass arrests have not stopped thousands of people from voicing their opposition.

Myanmar police deploy early to crank up pressure on protests

  Myanmar police deploy early to crank up pressure on protests YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Police in Myanmar on Saturday escalated their crackdown on demonstrators against this month’s military takeover, deploying early and in force as protesters sought to assemble in the country's two biggest cities. Myanmar’s crisis took a dramatic turn Friday on the international stage when the country’s ambassador to the United Nations at a special session of the General Assembly declared his loyalty to the ousted civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi and called on the world to pressure the military to cede power.

a group of people walking down the street © Reuters

Schraner Burgener said she believes the junta is "very surprised" by the protests against the coup.

"Today, we have young people who lived in freedom for 10 years. They have social media and they are well organized and very determined," Schraner Burgener told reporters in New York City on Wednesday. "They don't want to go back in a dictatorship and in isolation."

a group of people riding on the back of smoke: Protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021. © AP Protesters run as one of them discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by riot policemen in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021.

Police and security forces in Myanmar are now using live ammunition on protesters. Since Feb. 1, more than 50 people have been killed there and over 1,200 others -- some of whom remain unaccounted for -- have been arbitrarily arrested and detained, mostly without any form of due process, according to Burgener.

Myanmar police use lethal force on protesters in bloodiest day of demonstrations

  Myanmar police use lethal force on protesters in bloodiest day of demonstrations Myanmar security forces used lethal force on protesters and made mass arrests in what's considered to be the bloodiest day in weeks of demonstrations against a military coup. FACEBOOK PURGES MYANMAR MILITARY PAGE AMID COUPAt least 18 people were killed on Sunday, as the police opened fire in different parts of the city of Yangon after failing to break up crowds with stun grenades, tear gas, and shots in the air, according to a report by Reuters.WARNING – GRAPHIC CONTENT: Myanmar police fired at protesters on the bloodiest day of demonstrations against the military coup.

Sunday was previously the deadliest day in Myanmar since the bloodless coup. Authorities confronted peaceful protesters in several locations across Myanmar and fired live rounds into the crowds, killing at least 18 people and wounding over 30 others, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, which cited "credible information" that it had received.

MORE: Myanmar's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi appears in court after deadliest day since coup

Despite the escalation, the United States did not announce any new actions against Myanmar's military on Wednesday.

"We are appalled and repulsed to see the horrific violence perpetrated against the people of Burma for their peaceful calls to restore civilian governance," U.S. Department of State spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing at the White House, using Myanmar's former name under British colonial rule. "We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people and to promote accountability for the military's actions that have led to the loss of life of so many people in Burma."

Myanmar protesters undeterred after deadliest day since coup

  Myanmar protesters undeterred after deadliest day since coup Killing of 18 pro-democracy protesters by security forces and new charges against Aung San Suu Kyi have done nothing to quell anger at military rulers in the streets.In Yangon, the country's most populous city and former capital, some demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails at police. Others snuffed out smoking tear gas canisters fired by security forces. Videos posted to social media showed several people with bullet wounds being rushed away from protest sites to waiting ambulances in the southeastern town of Dawei.

Price said U.S. sanctions against Myanmar's military have a "significant impact" on its "ability to wield power and influence," but that the junta has virtually ignored them as well as financial penalties from Canada and the United Kingdom. Other "policy measures" are being evaluated, both unilaterally from the U.S. and with allies and partners in the region, according to Price.

"We are not going to do anything that worsens the suffering, the humanitarian suffering of the Burmese people," he told reporters in Washington, D.C.

a lot of smoke around it: Protesters cover with makeshift shields during a protest in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021. © Reuters Protesters cover with makeshift shields during a protest in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021.

Schraner Burgener said she has had conversations in recent weeks with the deputy commander-in-chief of Myanmar’s armed forces, Vice-Senior Gen. Soe Win, to warn him that the military will likely face strong measures from some countries as well as isolation in retaliation for the coup.

"The answer was: 'We are used to sanctions, and we survived,'" she told reporters in New York City. "When I also warned they will go in an isolation, the answer was: 'We have to learn to walk with only few friends.'"

Myanmar security forces fire on anti-coup protesters

  Myanmar security forces fire on anti-coup protesters Myanmar security forces fired live rounds and tear gas at protesters again on Tuesday, leaving at least three people critically injured as regional powers met to pressure the junta over its deadly crackdown. "Three were hit by live rounds and are in critical condition," he said, adding that police had initially deployed tear gas and rubber bullets before doubling back with live rounds. A doctor who treated the patients in a local hospital confirmed the number of people in critical condition. "One was hit in his thigh and he's now under operation. Another one got hit in the abdomen and he requires blood transfusions...

MORE: Myanmar protests against coup continue as military junta frees thousands of prisoners

The military previously ruled Myanmar for nearly 50 years before appearing to slowly transition to democratic rule a decade ago and holding its first general elections in years in 2015, which was a landslide victory for the NLD. Suu Kyi had spent 15 years under house arrest while leading the struggle for democracy against the Burmese junta and was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her "nonviolent" efforts.

Suu Kyi is understood to have had a tentative shared power agreement with the military since she was named state counsellor in 2016, offering the government a veneer of democratic legitimacy as they embarked on a decade of reforms. The role of state counsellor, akin to a prime minister or a head of government, was created because Myanmar's 2008 constitution barred Suu Kyi from becoming president, since her late husband and children are foreign citizens.

a boat in the rain: Protesters behind a barricade are enveloped by tear gas during a demonstration in Yangon, March 3, 2021. © AFP via Getty Images Protesters behind a barricade are enveloped by tear gas during a demonstration in Yangon, March 3, 2021.

The Nov. 8 general election was meant to be a referendum on Suu Kyi’s popular civilian government but her party expanded their seats in Parliament, securing a clear majority and threatening the military's tight hold on power. The constitution guarantees the military 25% of seats in Parliament and control of several key ministries.

Myanmar's Pro-Democracy Protests Are Giving a Voice to LGBTQ+ People

  Myanmar's Pro-Democracy Protests Are Giving a Voice to LGBTQ+ People As protesters join together to stand for democracy, an opening has emerged to advance social acceptance for Myanmar's LGBTQ+ community.Millions of people, according to some estimates, have demonstrated since Myanmar’s generals seized power on Feb. 1, arresting civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and more than 40 elected officials. The army has responded with violence, gunning down at least 61 people including at least four children. State forces have also beaten medics responding to the wounded, and arrested 1,500 people as of Mar. 3, taking many from their homes at night.

MORE: Myanmar army seizes power in apparent coup, declares state of emergency

The new civilian-led government was supposed to convene for the first time on Feb. 1 but power was instead handed over to Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar's armed forces, who is already under U.S. sanctions for his role in the military's atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority. An order signed by the acting president granted full authority to Hlaing to run the country and declared a state of emergency that will last for at least one year, citing widespread voter fraud in the November election.

Hlaing’s office said in a statement that the military would hold a "free and fair general election" after the state of emergency ends. Voter rolls will be checked and the nation's election commission, which last week rejected the military's allegations of voter fraud, will be "re-established," according to the statement.

a group of people walking down the street: Protesters are seen near a barricade during a protest in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021. © Reuters Protesters are seen near a barricade during a protest in Yangon, Myanmar, March 3, 2021.

Suu Kyi is still revered in Myanmar despite losing some of her international luster for her refusal to condemn the human rights against the Rohingyas. She has not been seen in public since she was ousted and is believed to be under house arrest at her residence in Myanmar's capital, Naypyidaw.

The Nobel laureate appeared in a Naypyitaw court via videoconference on Monday to face two more charges: one under a section of a colonial-era penal code prohibiting publication of information that may "cause fear or alarm" or disrupt "public tranquility," and the other under a telecommunications law stipulating licenses for equipment, relating to her alleged ownership of the walkie-talkies, one of her lawyers told Reuters.

MORE: 3 years later, US pressed to declare Rohingya crisis 'genocide,' hold Myanmar accountable

Suu Kyi was initially charged with illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and later charged with violating a natural disaster law by breaching COVID-19 protocols while campaigning during last year's elections.

She has her next court appearance scheduled for March 15, her lawyer told Reuters. If she is found guilty of any of the charges, the resulting prison sentence will likely overlap with the election the junta has promised would take a place in a year.

ABC News' Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.

Myanmar police who fled to India say they refused orders to shoot protesters .
When Tha Peng was ordered to shoot at protesters with his submachine gun to disperse them in the Myanmar town of Khampat on February 27, the police lance corporal said he refused. © Stringer/Getty Images Military soldiers walk down a street with weapons that contain live ammunition after clashes with protesters on March 3 in Yangon, Myanmar. "The next day, an officer called to ask me if I will shoot," he said. The 27-year-old refused again, and then resigned from the force.

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