Myanmar: 'Dozens die' in protests as coup leaders mark Armed Forces Day - Happy Boss

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Saturday, 27 March 2021

Myanmar: 'Dozens die' in protests as coup leaders mark Armed Forces Day


Protesters in yangon defied warnings from the military 

Dozens of protesters have reportedly been shot dead in Myanmar as they defied warnings and a show of strength by leaders of the country's coup.

Local media reports say up to 90 have been killed, although the numbers are difficult to confirm.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing earlier used an Armed Forces Day TV address to pledge elections but gave no timetable.

The latest deaths would take the number killed in the suppression of protests since February's coup beyond 400.

State TV had warned in a separate broadcast on Friday that people "should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back".

What is happening on the streets?

The latest reports of deaths from news outlets The Irrawaddy and Myanmar Now would make this the bloodiest day since the protests began.

Myanmar Now set out a tally of 91 deaths in 40 towns across the nation by 16:30 local time (10:00 GMT).

The Irrawaddy's latest report tells of 59 deaths, including three children, across 28 locations.

The anti-coup activists had called for major demonstrations on Saturday, despite the military's threat to use deadly violence against them.

Security forces were out in strength trying to prevent rallies, particularly in Yangon, where gunshots were fired at the US cultural centre. The US embassy said those shots caused no injuries, but condemned Myanmar's military for "murdering unarmed civilians".

Secutiy forces clash with protesters in yangon

Among the dead were four outside a police station in the Dala suburb of Yangon, Myanmar Now reported.

Witnesses and sources told BBC Burmese of protester deaths in the cities and townships of Magway, Mogok, Kyaukpadaung and Mayangone.

Deaths were also reported on the streets of the second-largest city Mandalay, as protesters carried the flag of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party of Myanmar's detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, and gave their now traditional anti-authoritarian three-finger salute.

One journalist told AFP news agency police had used live ammunition against protesters in the north-eastern city of Lashio.

The EU delegation to Myanmar said: "This 76th Myanmar Armed Forces day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour. The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts."

Dr Sasa, a spokesman for anti-junta group CRPH, told Reuters this was "a day of shame for the armed forces".

What did the coup leader say?

"The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy," Min Aung Hlaing said in his live broadcast on Saturday.

"Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate."

He added that the army had to seize power because of "unlawful acts" by democratically-elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and her party.

In the television address, min aung hlaing protesters that thay risked being shot  

However, he did not specifically say that the military had been given shoot-to-kill orders. The junta has previously tried to claim that shootings have come from among the protesters.

Armed Forces Day commemorates the start of Myanmar's military resistance against Japanese occupation in 1945.

The parade is usually attended by officials from other nations. However, it appeared that Russian deputy defence minister Alexander Formin was the only foreign official there.

"Russia is a true friend," Min Aung Hlaing added.

The US, UK and EU have all imposed sanctions in response to the military coup. Myanmar and Russia's defence ties have grown in recent years. In that time Moscow has provided training to thousands of soldiers, and has sold arms to the military.

Myanmar profile

  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history, it has been under military rule
  • Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government headed by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
  • In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing"

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