38 dead in demonstrations: “Blackest day for Myanmar since the coup”



On the 30th day of resistance against the military government in Myanmar, violence has escalated. The number of deaths keeps increasing.

According to the UN, 38 people were killed in protests against the military junta on Wednesday.

  • Wednesday was already the 30th day of resistance against the military junta in Myanmar.

  • 38 people were killed in demonstrations.

  • More than 1,300 people have been arrested, at least temporarily, since the coup in early February.

After the coup in Myanmar, the military rulers escalated the violence against demonstrators. «Today was the blackest day since the coup on February 1st. Today, just today, we had 38 deaths, ”said UN special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener on Wednesday. In total, more than 50 people have died in the past few weeks.

She reported on “very disturbing” videos showing violence and the obvious shooting of a protester. “It seems that the police are using weapons such as nine-millimeter submachine guns, ie live ammunition.” Shocking images of corpses covered in blood circulated on social networks.

According to reports, one young man was shot dead in Myingyan in northern Myanmar and another in Mawlamyine in the south. Two other demonstrators, a 37-year-old man and a 19-year-old woman, were killed in the city of Mandalay, as the portal “Myanmar Now” wrote. “There were about 20,000 demonstrators on the street and I am sure that the security forces belonged to the army,” said a local journalist from the German press agency. In the former capital, Rangoon, the hotspot of the protests, there were at least seven victims.

A total of 1,300 arrests

Wednesday was already the 30th day of resistance against the military. The security forces also used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets, as the portal “Eleven Myanmar” wrote. According to estimates by activists, more than 1,300 people have been arrested at least temporarily since the coup in early February – the United Nations says 1,200.

The military had put a coup against the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi about a month ago. The generals cited irregularities in the November parliamentary elections as the reason. Suu Kyi won this by a clear margin. Observers did not document any signs of major electoral fraud.

Myanmar’s diplomats at the United Nations continue to distance themselves from the military junta that has ruled since the coup. After the military declared UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun to be deposed after criticizing the coup, his deputy and designated successor Tin Maung Naing resigned on Wednesday, according to media reports. He didn’t give a reason. In an unofficial translation of his statement on Facebook, from which the newspaper “The Irrawaddy” quoted, it was said, however, that he had been a loyal servant of his country for 30 years and was resigning due to the current circumstances.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres received a letter from the Myanmar Foreign Ministry on Tuesday, according to which Naing was to represent the country at the United Nations. However, the previous Ambassador Tun had declared in his own letter to the UN General Assembly on Monday that he still represented the country’s “legitimate” government and would remain its UN representative. UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the relevant committee would examine the two contradicting letters.

In protests in Myanmar, the security forces killed more than 30 people on Wednesday after evaluating local media reports and messages on Facebook. The AP news agency was unable to independently confirm most of the reports. (DPA)

The 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest since the coup and has to answer for various allegations in court. The demonstrators are calling for the former icon of freedom to be reinstated as head of government. Suu Kyi had been under house arrest for 15 years during the almost 50-year military dictatorship. At that time the army had ruled the country with an iron hand and suppressed any resistance with brutal severity.

Pope calls for dialogue

Schraner Burgener urged the international community to act to reverse the coup and end the violence. “All available tools are now needed to end this situation, and we need unity in the international community. So it is up to the member states to take the right measures, ”said the UN envoy, who says she is in contact with the military leadership. She is also in talks with EU countries – including Germany. A UN Security Council meeting on violence in Myanmar is planned for Friday.

Pope Francis once again expressed concern about the conflict: “I appeal to the parties involved that dialogue should gain the upper hand over the suppression,” wrote the head of the Catholic Church on Twitter. He called on the international community to «ensure that the aspirations of the people of Myanmar are not stifled». In February, Francis had requested, among other things, the immediate release of arrested politicians.

(DPA / chk)

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