During protests against the military junta in Myanmar, more than 90 people were apparently killed by the security forces on Saturday. At least 29 people were killed in Mandalay alone, including a child, local media reported. According to the Myanmar Now news portal, at least 24 people died in Yangon. The new protests took place on Army Day, which the military marked with a parade in the capital, Naypyidaw. </p><div> <p>The aid organization for political prisoners AAPP had estimated the number of people killed since the coup at at least 328 on Friday evening. With the dead on Saturday, the number would exceed 400. The newspaper "The Irrawaddy" spoke of 59 dead on Saturday, including three children aged seven, ten and 13 years. Independent verification of the data is not possible.</p>
On the army’s official memorial day, demonstrations against the junta took place in large parts of the country. Military members and police officers are said to have used live ammunition and targeted headshots against unarmed civilians. According to the United Nations, it was the “bloodiest day” since the coup in early February. “The violence is completely unacceptable and must stop immediately,” said a statement.
The European Union spoke on social media of a day of “terror and dishonor”. Killing unarmed civilians and children is inexcusable. The US ambassador to Myanmar also condemned the military’s actions: “The bloodshed is horrific,” wrote Thomas Vajda on Twitter. The Myanmar military has brought shame on itself by shooting at “unarmed civilians,” wrote British Ambassador Dan Chugg on Twitter.
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. Fomin called Myanmar a “trusted ally and strategic partner in Southeast Asia and the Pacific”. Myanmar’s commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, said Russia was a “true friend”, according to the BBC.
Russian media reported that in addition to Russia, countries such as China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand had also sent representatives. Russia’s invitation was a reaction to Myanmar’s participation in the military parade in Russia last summer. Russia is reportedly the second largest arms supplier to Myanmar after China. The US, the European Union and the UK imposed sanctions following the February 1st military coup.
After the annual parade in Naypyidaw, the head of the junta, General Min Aung Hlaing, said on state television, “The army wants to join forces with the whole nation to ensure democracy.” Acts of violence that would impair stability and security are inappropriate. He repeated his promise to hold elections, but did not give a date. Russia and China had sent representatives to the parade. The EU delegation in Myanmar said that the holiday this year will go down in history “as a day of terror and dishonor”.
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 MRTV.
Recent deaths have shown that these threats should be taken more than seriously. 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.
“This war won’t end until we win it,” said an anonymous activist at a demonstration near the famous Sule Pagoda in the largest city of Yangon. “We don’t stop until there is freedom and justice.”
Since the military coup there have been protests against the takeover almost every day. The demonstrators are demanding democracy and the release of the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi. Your National League for Democracy (NLD) party celebrated a landslide victory in the November election. However, the military does not recognize this, as it allegedly had electoral fraud, and at the beginning of February disempowered the civilian government.
On Saturday, the IG Authors authors and the Graz Authors Authors’ Assembly spoke up in Austria. Its members remembered the two poets killed in Myanmar, K Za Win and Kyi Lin Aye. Another poet, Maung Yu Py, born in 1981, was arrested and imprisoned on March 9th. He is said to have been beaten and mistreated. He faces two years in prison. Apparently, Maung Yu Py was not among the 600 people last released. Signatures in support of the release of the prisoners are requested on the internet platform change.org.