World Myanmar's post-coup civilian death toll climbs past 700
Myanmar has become a global flashpoint as violence escalates. Here's what to know
Sanctions appear to inhibit Myanmar junta little as violence increasesA U.N. special envoy warned of an imminent "bloodbath" if the military doesn't end its brutal crackdown, which has taken the lives of hundreds so far.
A security guard was wounded in a bomb blast outside a military-owned bank in Myanmar's second-biggest city Sunday morning, as the civilian death toll from the junta's brutal crackdown on dissent topped more than 700 at the weekend.
The country has been in turmoil since the military removed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
Myawaddy Bank's biggest branch in Mandalay was targeted on Sunday morning and a security guard was injured in the explosion, according to local media.
There was a heavy security presence in the area following the blast.
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Fears of a failed state abound as hospitals close and EMTs dodge bullets.Anti-coup demonstrators gather tires to burn as they prepare to confront police during a protest in Tarmwe township, Yangon, Myanmar, April 1, 2021.
The bank is one of scores of military-controlled businesses that have faced boycott pressure since the coup, with many customers demanding to withdraw their savings.
There has been heavy bloodletting in recent days.
On Saturday a local monitoring group said security forces gunned down and killed 82 anti-coup protesters the previous day in the city of Bago, 65 kilometres (40 miles) northeast of Yangon.
AFP-verified footage shot early Friday showed protesters hiding behind sandbag barricades wielding homemade rifles, as explosions were heard in the background.
The United Nations office in Myanmar tweeted late Saturday that it was following the bloodshed in Bago, where it said medical treatment had been denied to the injured.
Facebook’s Ban of Myanmar’s Military Will Be a Test of the True Power of Social Media Platforms
It's the strongest action the company has taken against the armed forces, known as the Tatmadaw, or indeed those in power in any nation . It is also the culmination of a years-long dance between Facebook and Myanmar’s military, which infamously used the platform to spread hate speech and disinformation about the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority in the years leading up to 2017, in a campaign that ended in mass murder, rape and arson, which the U.N. said was carried out with “genocidal intent.
Overall the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has verified 701 civilian deaths since the putsch.
The junta has a far lower number: 248, according to a spokesman Friday.
Despite the bloodshed, protesters continued to rally in parts of the country.
University students and their professors marched through the streets of Mandalay and the city of Meiktila on Sunday morning, according to local media.
Some carried stems of Eugenia flowers -- a symbol of victory.
In Yangon, protesters carried a banner that read: "We will get victory, we will win."
Protesters there, as well as in the city of Monywa, took to writing political messages on leaves including "we must win" and calling for UN intervention to prevent further bloodshed.
Across the country people have been urged to participate in a torchlight protest in their neighbourhoods after sunset on Sunday night.
The Myanmar beauty queen standing up to the military
A month ago Han Lay was protesting. Last week she used her pageant speech to criticise the military.But when Han Lay, Miss Grand Myanmar, spoke out last week against alleged atrocities committed by her country's military, her speech turned heads.
-- Death penalty returns --
Unrest also erupted Saturday in the northwestern town of Tamu, near the Indian border, where protesters fought back when soldiers tried to tear down makeshift barricades erected to block security forces.
Two civilians were killed when soldiers started randomly shooting, said a local, with protesters retaliating by throwing a bomb that exploded and overturned a military truck, killing more than a dozen soldiers.
"Some are in hiding -- we are worried that our people will be hurt as a reprisal," the resident told AFP.
The mounting bloodshed has also angered some of Myanmar's 20 or so armed ethnic groups, who control swathes of territory mostly in border regions.
There were clashes Saturday in northern Shan state, as the Ta'ang National Liberation Army (TNLA), an ethnic rebel group, mounted a pre-dawn attack on a police station, said the TNLA's Brigadier General Tar Bhone Kyaw, who declined to give details.
Local media reported more than a dozen police officers were killed, while the TNLA said the military retaliated with air strikes on its troops, killing at least one rebel soldier.
State-run television reported in the evening that "terrorist armed groups" attacked the police station with heavy weaponry and set it on fire.
Meanwhile, state media reported Friday that 19 people had been sentenced to death for robbery and murder by a military court, with 17 of them tried in absentia.
They were arrested in Yangon's North Okkalapa township -- one of six areas in the commercial hub currently under martial law, meaning anybody arrested there is tried by a military tribunal.
Myanmar has long had the death penalty, but has not carried out an execution in more than 30 years, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division for Human Rights Watch.
"It indicates the military are prepared to go back to a time when Myanmar was executing people," he said.
Why the Biden administration and their allies have been unable to stop the violence in Myanmar .
The US policy on the Myanmar military's crackdown on peaceful pro-democracy demonstrators has been bipartisan -- but that hasn't helped stop the conflict in the Southeast Asian nation. At a time of rare bipartisan action, the Biden administration's position on Myanmar's violence won praise from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. © Stringer/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock "Their instincts are good," the Kentucky Republican told Politico on Monday, after Biden reportedly consulted with the minority leader on the situation in Myanmar, which CNN has covered on the ground.