It is the deadliest repression since the coup a month ago. At least eighteen people were killed (according to the UN), several wounded and hundreds arrested on Sunday in Burma by the security forces who had come to disperse rallies in favor of democracy.
The country has been rocked by a wave of protests and a campaign of civil disobedience since the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1. Facing this largely peaceful deep wind, the authorities have intensified the use of force, dispersing gatherings with tear gas, water cannons, rubber ammunition, and sometimes live ammunition.
Sunday, 23-year-old protester killed in Yangonaccording to Nyi Nyi, a former MP for Aung San Suu Kyi’s party. “His wife is three months pregnant. She is heartbroken,” Win Ko, a social worker who visited the widow, told AFP. In Dawei (south), three people died and another 20 were injured, according to a rescuer and local media.
Deadliest day since the coup
The three victims were “hit by live ammunition,” while the wounded were hit by rubber ammunition, said rescuer Pyae Zaw Hein, fearing. heavier balance.
Two 18-year-old boys were killed in Bago, near Yangon, according to other rescuers. In Mandalay (center), a protester, seriously injured by a projectile that pierced his helmet and lodged in his brain, is in critical condition.
It is the deadliest day since the coup. “We are heartbroken after the loss of so many lives,” the US Embassy in Burma tweeted. “The attack on civilians is atrocious.” The leader of the board, General Min Aung Hlaing, he assured that the authorities resorted to a minimum use of force against the concentrations.
But now we count at least Eleven dead in rows of protesters since February 1. The army says for its part that a policeman died while trying to disperse a rally. When requested, Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, Vice Minister of Information, was not available to comment on the events.
Escalation of the use of deadly force
“The sharp escalation in the use of lethal force … is scandalous and unacceptable and must be stopped immediately,” Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division, responded to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
In Yangon, the security forces violently dispersed the rallies, but it is not known whether they were fired with live ammunition. “The police started shooting as soon as we arrived.. There was no word of warning, “said Amy Kyaw, a 29-year-old school teacher. Protesters still stood in the streets to protect themselves behind barricades and makeshift shields.
Since hundreds of people were arrested in the economic capital, according to police, and transferred to the infamous Insein Prison, where many pro-democracy activists served long prison terms under previous dictatorships.
Journalists are the target. One of them was beaten by the police and detained in Myitkyina (north), according to local media.
850 arrests since the coup
Another was hit by rubber bullets in the center of the country, according to his employer. On Saturday, at least three journalists were arrested, including a photographer from the American agency Associated Press. Rescuers helping injured protesters are also the target of the arrests, according to HRW.
More than 850 people have been arrested, charged or convicted since the coup, according to a NGO that helps political prisoners (AAPP). But arrests have escalated in the past two days with 479 arrests on Saturday alone.
The repression was strongly condemned internationally, the United States and the European Union leading the way to demand the release ofAung San Suu Kyi. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner has not been seen in public since her arrest.
Aung San Suu Kyi remains under house arrest
Under house arrest in the capital, Naypyidaw, she was charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies and violated coronavirus restrictions. A hearing is scheduled for Monday.
Despite several requests, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw was unable to see her.
The junta on Saturday removed its ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, the day after his spectacular break with the coup generals and his call to “end the military coup.”
The last popular uprisings of 1988 and 2007 were bloody repressed by the army. The country has already lived under the yoke of the military for almost 50 years. since its independence in 1948 and the coup ended a fragile ten-year democratic transition.