UN says “Myanmar police and military killed at least 18 people after opening fire on protesters”

By Rek Hanibal Published on March 01, 2021
UN says “Myanmar police and military killed at least 18 people after opening fire on protesters”

18 people were killed and more than 30 injured in Myanmar on Sunday as police and military forces "confronted peaceful demonstrations," the UN Human Rights Office said. The reported casualties make Sunday the deadliest day since the military seized power on February 1. As demonstrations against the military coup which ousted the democratically elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi entered their fourth week on Saturday, security forces began a violent crackdown on protesters in towns and cities across the country.

"These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression," Shamdasani said. The office also said police had detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, along with seven journalists during the demonstrations on Sunday, noting that more than 1,000 people had been "arbitrarily arrested and detained" in February, including "members of the democratically elected government."

The UN Human Rights Office said it had received "credible information" about the use of deadly force against peaceful protesters in "several locations" in Myanmar on Sunday. “Deathsreportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago, and Pokokku," a statement from spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said. It also noted reports about the use of tear gas, flash-bang, and stun The statement condemned the "escalating violence" and urged the military to "immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters," noting that "the people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy."

The statement repeated the UN's call for the release of anyone detained arbitrarily. "The international community must stand in solidarity with the protesters and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar," it said. In the biggest city, Yangon, a protester was fatally shot when police opened fire on demonstrators,  citing a hospital doctor. The doctor, who asked not to be identified, said the protester was brought into the hospital with a bullet wound in the chest. death in Yangon's Thingangyun township. Also in Yangon, a woman died of a suspected heart attack after police broke up a teachers' protest with stun grenades, according to Reuters who cited the woman's daughter and a colleague.

Videos posted to social media captured the escalating confrontations between protesters and security forces. Sunday marks the second day of the military's intensified crackdown on anti-coup protesters, in which hundreds of people have reportedly been detained, including journalists. In towns and cities across Myanmar on Saturday, security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and shot their guns into the air to disperse protesters. Protesters shout slogans as police arrive during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay on February 28, 2021. One police officer has been killed since the coup, The latest clashes came a day after the ruling military junta fired the country's United Nations ambassador for making an impassioned plea at the UN General Assembly for international action to help overturn the coup.

On Saturday, state television MRTV announced UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun's removal, saying he had "abused the power and responsibilities of a permanent ambassador" and that he "betrays the country. “Addressing the assembly in New York on Friday, Kyaw Moe Tun defied the military rulers now in control of the country and urged the UN Security Council and the world to use "any means necessary" to rescue the people of Myanmar and hold the military to account. We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people, and to restore the democracy," he said.


Rek Hanibal

Rek Hanibal

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