Culture

Protests erupt again amid a show of force by coup leaders

Protests erupt again amid a show of force by coup leaders”

Myanmar's security forces killed at least 16 protestors, as military junta chief marks Armed Forces Day.

The government had issued a stark warning that anyone who took to the streets risked being shot "in the head and back".

In Yangon, the country's largest city, they flashed the three-finger salute as they wheeled the coffin of a 13-year-old boy.

"The government must help organise a deliberate and integrated worldwide response to force the junta that is led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, to immediately reverse its takeover and abide by the results of the November 2020 elections", read a joint statement issued by 12 personalities from different fields.

Earlier on Saturday, the military held a parade and heard a speech from Min Aung Hlaing, who said he wanted to "safeguard democracy" but also warned against "violent acts".

Myanmar has been in a state of turmoil, ever since the military coup ousted defect leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

"We are told by the neighbours that Aye Ko was shot and thrown into the fire", a relative told AFP. It has again made Myanmar the focus of global scrutiny as security forces have repeatedly fired into crowds of protesters.

Mourners fled the shooting at a service for 20-year-old student Thae Maung Maung in Bago near the commercial capital Yangon and there were no immediate reports of casualties, three people in the town told Reuters.

The newly imposed junta staged a major show of might for its annual Armed Forces Day Saturday as the deaths since the February 1 coup climbed to at least 423, according to a local monitoring group.

Myanmar's military took power saying that November elections won by Suu Kyi's party were fraudulent, an assertion dismissed by the country's election commission.

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Suu Kyi, Myanmar's most popular civilian politician, remains in detention at an undisclosed location.

Some of the funerals held Sunday became themselves opportunities to demonstrate resistance to the junta.

"Today the junta of Myanmar has made Armed Forces Day a day of infamy with the massacre of men, women and very young children throughout country", said Tom Andrews, the UN's independent expert on human rights for Myanmar. Its data shows that around a quarter of them died from shots to the head, raising suspicions they were targeted for killing.

"A failed state in Myanmar has the potential to draw in all the big powers - including the US, China, India, Russia, and Japan - in a way that could lead to a serious worldwide crisis", he wrote on Twitter.

Military jets also launched air strikes on a village in territory controlled by an armed group from the Karen ethnic minority and at least two people were killed, a civil society group said.

A junta spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment on the killings or the fighting.

Figures collected by the researcher, who asked not to be named for his security, have generally tallied with the counts issued at the end of each day by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests and is widely seen as a definitive source.

United States defence secretary Lloyd Austin and his counterparts from various countries on Saturday (local time) condemned the deadly use of force by Myanmar Armed Forces against unarmed protesters.

Russia's support for the junta is also important as it is a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and along with China, which has also refrained from criticism, can block potential U.N. actions.



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