At least 19 people were killed in Myanmar Saturday, as the country’s military, which seized power in a Feb. 1 coup, continues a violent crackdown on pro-democracy protesters countrywide.
At least five protesters died in violent night clashes with police in Rangoon, the economic capital of the country.
In a show of force, the military regime held a massive parade in the capital Naypyidaw to celebrate the Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of local resistance to the Japanese occupation during World War II.
As troops marched alongside army vehicles, junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing defended the coup again and pledged to relinquish power after new elections, without specifying any date.
Junta leaders have justified the coup saying the November 8 general election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party was fraudulent — an accusation the electoral commission rejected. Ongoing protests have spread nationwide since the coup often followed by a heavy-handed security crackdown against protesters.
Myanmar’s junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the country’s elected government in a Feb. 1 coup, presides an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27, 2021.
Myanmar’s military government had warned protesters they could risk being shot in the head during anti-coup demonstrations Saturday as the country observed Armed Forces Day, according to state media.
The junta’s warning came one day after nine people were killed in Myanmar, according to the daily report of the activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
Military forces have killed at least 320 people during the crackdown and more than 2,900 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the crackdown began, the AAPP said in a report.
The United States and Britain imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s ruling junta on Thursday, blacklisting military-controlled businesses.
“Today the United States is taking its most significant action to date to impose costs on the military regime,” said Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in a statement Thursday.
The United States has designated two entities linked to the coup leaders, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC). “MEHL and MEC are the two largest military holding companies in Burma, and all shares in them are held and managed by current or former Burmese military officers, regiments, and units, and organizations led by former service members,” the statement said.
Voice of America – English