Brutal violence by military escalates in Myanmar

A day after 114 people were killed by security forces in Myanmar, the military on Sunday opened fire on those who had gathered to mourn the dead in Yangon. Close to 450 people have been killed since the February 1 coup

March 29, 2021 by Peoples Dispatch
Protesters have been taking to the streets across Myanmar since the coup on February 1. Photo: Myanmar Now

Military violence against anti-coup demonstrators increased catastrophically over the weekend in Myanmar. On Sunday, March 28, the military opened fire on those who had gathered to mourn people killed the previous day in Yangon. On Saturday, security forces killed at least 114 anti-coup protesters, some of them children, in various parts of the country, making it the deadliest day since the protests began in February after the military staged a coup and arrested Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders.

Though the exact numbers of people killed on Saturday is difficult to verify, according to Myanmar Now, among those killed were 29 people in Mandalay and 24 in Yangon. The total number of protesters killed by the security forces in the protests so far has crossed 440.

The killings have invited global condemnation with the UN issuing a fresh call for the end of violence against the protesters.

Saturday was also Myanmar’s Annual Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of resistance against the Japanese occupation during World War II. During the celebration, which was attended by representatives of different countries, including India, the leader of the coup, general Min Aung Hlaing, claimed that fresh elections would be held in the country as soon as possible.

Thousands of people have fled the country to neighboring India and Thailand and other countries. Condemning the apparent inaction by the world community, UN special rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews asked for immediate action, saying that, “the people of Myanmar need the world’s support.”

The military has claimed that it seized power on February 1 to “save democracy” after making the allegation that the elections held in November last year were fraudulent. It has also arrested and is prosecuting Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the League for Democracy, the party which won a majority of seats in the Myanmar’s parliament. She is facing multiple charges, including corruption during her previous term as State Councillor and foreign minister.

Thousands of protesters have taken to streets against the coup on almost every day since February 1. The security forces have used heavy force to stop these protests, killing and arresting hundreds of people.