Crackdown in Burma, at least 18 protesters killed

At least 18 demonstrators were killed and around 30 injured during the security forces’ crackdown on 28 February in Burma, according to figures provided by the United Nations.

Burmese security forces fired on demonstrators on Sunday in Rangoon and several other cities across the country, killing at least 18 people, making it the bloodiest day since the anti-coup protest movement began four weeks ago, the UN said.

“Throughout the day, in several locations, the police and army responded to peaceful demonstrations using lethal and less-lethal force which – according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office – left at least 18 people dead and 30 injured,” the UN office said.

In several former capitals Rangoon areas, police reinforced by army elements fired live ammunition after failing to disperse the crowd with sound grenades, tear gas, and warning shots.

Crackdown in Burma, at least 18 protesters killed
©AFP – Crackdown in Burma

Several wounded were evacuated on the backs of men, leaving bloody streaks on the pavement. According to a medical source who did not wish to be identified, one man died in hospital after being shot in the chest.

A UN official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the UN office was able to confirm the deaths of at least five people in Yangon on Sunday.

“Burma is a battlefield,” commented Charles Maung Bo, Catholic cardinal of the predominantly Buddhist country, on Twitter.

Aung San Suu Kyi interviewed

Burma has been in chaos since a military junta detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and several members of her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), on 1 February.

Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, is accused of illegally importing six walkie-talkies and violating rules established to combat the coronavirus epidemic. The next court hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Police also opened fire on supporters in the southern town of Dawei, killing three protesters and injuring several others, Kyaw Min Htike, a local politician, told Reuters.

According to a local media outlet, Myanmar Now, two people also lost their lives in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city.

A resident contacted by Reuters reported further shooting in the evening and said a woman had been killed. “A medical team examined her and confirmed her death. She was shot in the head,” she said.

The police and a Burmese army spokesman made no comment.

The junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, assured last week that the security forces were exercising the utmost restraint. The crackdown on the protests had left at least three people dead until Sunday. According to the army, a police officer was also killed in clashes on the protests’ sidelines.

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