At least 50 people were killed in nationwide demonstrations against the military coup in Myanmar. This was reported by The Irrawaddy newspaper and other local media on Saturday. According to information from “Myanmar Now”, at least 80 people are said to have died.
On the Army’s official memorial day, “Armed Forces Day”, protests against the takeover of power broke out in large parts of the country, such as the trading metropolis of Yangon, the northern region of Mandalay and southern Bago. Military members and police officers are said to have used live ammunition and targeted headshots against unarmed civilians.
The Myanmar military has brought shame on itself by shooting at “unarmed civilians,” wrote British Ambassador Dan Chugg on Twitter.
A 21-year-old civilian named Chit Bo Nyein is believed to be among the victims in Yangon. Nyein helped out in his family’s tea shop when he was shot, said a family member of the German press agency.
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The military had put a coup against the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi at the beginning of February. The 75-year-old has been under house arrest since then and has been accused of various offenses by the judiciary. The protesters are calling for the restoration of Suu Kyi’s civilian government
The aid organization for political prisoners AAPP estimated the number of people killed since the coup as of Friday evening at at least 328. According to their statements, at least a quarter of them died from head shots. This has led to speculation about targeted killings. With the incidents on Saturday, the number of those killed amounts to almost 380.
Russia wants closer ties with Myanmar
In a speech in the capital, Naypidaw, the Armed Forces Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing defended the military takeover as “inevitable” because the Suu Kyi government and its party were involved in “unlawful acts”. He promised to hold elections again, but without giving a date.
General Min Aung Hlaing said on state television: “The army wants to join forces with the whole nation to secure democracy.” Acts of violence that would affect stability and security are inappropriate.
The day before, there had been a threat against the demonstrators on state television. “You should learn that you run the risk of being shot in the head and back,” said the station MRTV.
With the “Armed Forces Day”, Myanmar commemorates the beginning of the resistance against the Japanese occupation in World War II. According to the state agency Tass, the Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin also took part in the parade. Accordingly, Russia and Myanmar want to strengthen their relations. Both states wanted to develop military and military-technical cooperation, said Tass.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said Russia was a true friend, according to the British BBC. According to the report, no official representatives from other countries attended the parade. The US, the European Union and the UK imposed sanctions following the February 1st military coup. (dpa, AFP, Reuters)
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Armed Forces Day Myanmar Military junta shoots demonstrators dead politics