MYANMAR PROTESTS: 39 PROTESTERS KILLED ON SUNDAY


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As we have reported in our 9 March article, PROTESTS RAGE IN MYANMAR DESPITE MILITARY CRACKDOWN,” protesters have continued to face off against the military-backed police in the country to voice opposition against the military coup last month.
The protesters are demanding the release of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and others arrested by the military, as well as for the civilian government to be put back in power. The generals have declared a year-long state of emergency and ousted Myanmar’s leadership, accusing Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy Party (NLD) of rigging last November’s general election.
Reuters reported that at least 39 pro-democracy protesters were killed Sunday during clashes in and around Yangon, the country’s largest city. On Monday, security forces opened fire again, killing at least five.
“One girl got shot in the head, and a boy got shot in the face,” an 18-year-old protester from Myingyan told Reuters. He said that he was in hiding.
Burning China
Several Chinese-backed factories in the area were torched by attackers causing about $37 million in damage, according to the report. The violence prompted China to call for the generals in the country to show restraint. Reports out of the country indicated that martial law would be imposed in some of the most violent cities, including Hlaingthaya, the Yangon suburb where 37 protesters were killed.
Prior to Sunday’s bloodshed, the death toll stemming from the protests stood at around 70 since the 1 February coup. The New York Times interviewed several people from the town of Myaing, where police opened fire on protesters on 11 March, killing eight. One witness told the paper the police officers were shooting protesters like they would “shoot birds.”
Amnesty International told the paper the country’s police used military-grade equipment on the protesters, which has appalled the international community. About 2,000 protesters have been detained. Joanne Mariner, the director of crisis response for the agency, said,
“These are not the actions of overwhelmed, individual officers making poor decisions. These are unrepentant commanders already implicated in crimes against humanity, deploying their troops and murderous methods in the open.”
A senior official from the Biden administration told NPR that the country is teetering on the brink, and a humanitarian crisis is emerging. There are about 1,600 from the country in the U.S., and they will be eligible for Temporary Protected Status for the next 18 months.
Suu Kyi’s condition in captivity has been a mystery, but The Times reported she has been accused by the military of illicitly receiving 25 pounds of gold and $600,000. She has been accused of other crimes that could mean years in prison.

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