Friday, 22 October, 2021


Myanmar military promises new elections, threatens protesters

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the generals ousted and detained civilian ruler Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1 triggering a major uprising demanding a return to democracy More protester deaths in Myanmar
Conrad Doyle | 27 March, 2021, 17:27

As Myanmar's military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade Saturday in the country's capital, soldiers and police elsewhere reportedly killed dozens of people as they suppressed protests in the deadliest bloodletting since last month's coup.

Smoke rises over Tamwe township in Yangon on Saturday, as security forces continue their crackdown on protests against the military coup.

Myanmar news agencies, including the Democratic Voice of Burma and Mizzima, reported that three more people had been shot dead by security forces in the city of Myeik in southern Myanmar.

The killings quickly drew global condemnation, with multiple diplomatic missions to Myanmar releasing statements that mentioned the killing of civilians Saturday (local time), including children.

"(The) KNU can meet with him only after the Tatmadaw (military) implements the following essential wishes of the people", it said.

To protect themselves from violence, some activists have come up with creative ways to protest, including marching at dawn and staging "human-less" rallies, using objects or dummies in place of people.

Security forces opened fire at protestors gathered outside a police station in Yangon's Data suburb, where four of them were killed and ten wounded.

In a week that saw worldwide pressure on the junta ramped up with new United States and European sanctions, Russia's deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended the parade in Naypyitaw, having met senior junta leaders a day earlier. One person was killed in Hopin town in the northeast. Reuters could not independently verify the reports.

A military spokesperson did not respond to calls seeking comment.

"The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy", General Min Aung Hlaing said in a speech broadcast on state television after the parade in the capital, Naypyitaw.

More than 90 people have been killed in a day, according to local media, surpassing estimates for the previous high on march 14, which ranged from 74 to 90 deaths.

In an ominous warning on Friday evening, state television said protesters were "in danger of getting shot to the head and back".

But it showed the military's determination to prevent any disruptions around Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of the resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945 that was orchestrated by Suu Kyi's father, the founder of the military.

Soldiers stand guard along a blockaded road near Myanmar's Parliament in Naypyidaw on 2 February 2021, as Myanmar's generals appeared in firm control a day after a surgical coup that saw democracy heroine Aung San Suu Kyi detained. On Wednesday, more than 600 others were freed from the same prison, also without being formally charged by a court.

In a week that saw worldwide pressure on the junta ramped up with new US and European sanctions, Russia's deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended the parade in Naypyitaw, having meet senior junta leaders a day earlier.

Min Aung Hlaing expressed gratitude to the Russian representative for the country's support, describing it as a "true friend". There were no signs of other diplomats at an event that is usually attended by scores of officials from foreign nations.

"Every corner of the streets are being burned down", he warned.

Protesters have taken to the streets nearly daily since the coup that derailed Myanmar's slow transition to democracy.

At least 320 protesters have been killed in the weeks of unrest as of Thursday night, according to figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group. At least a quarter of them were shot in the head, according to the same group.

"They shot all the people along the road while they chased to arrest protesters on motorbikes", he told AFP, saying security forces were still indiscriminately shooting in the area.

The European Union delegation in Yangon called Saturday "a day of terror and dishonour", while former colonial power Britain also blasted security forces as having "disgraced themselves".

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