Funerals to be held for protesters killed by Myanmar’s military junta

The families of dozens of people killed in clashes between Myanmar security forces and anti-coup protesters were prepared to hold funerals on Tuesday after live guards took place overnight despite curfews.

Security forces shot dead at least 20 people on Monday in addition to the 74 killed a day earlier, including many in a suburb of Yangon where Chinese-funded factories were burned, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

In further violence overnight, a medical worker in the Dawbon area of ​​Yangon said one person died and six were injured after security forces broke out a protest.

“We had to flee … because they (the security forces) threatened if we did not leave the body, they would shoot us,” the worker said by telephone and asked not to be identified.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was appalled by the escalating violence “in the hands of the country’s military” and called on the international community to help stop the repression, his spokesman said.

Supporters of imprisoned elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi have shown no signs of supporting escalating violence, with Sunday the bloodiest day since a February 1 military coup.

Marchers took place on Monday in the second city of Mandalay and in the central cities of Myingyan and Aunglan, where police opened fire, witnesses and media reported.

“A girl was shot in the head and a boy was shot in the face,” an 18-year-old protester in Myingyan told Reuters by telephone. “I’m hiding now.”

A total of 183 people were killed by security forces during the weeks of protests against the coup and the number of fatalities increased dramatically, the AAPP said.

A junta spokesman did not respond to calls for comment and Reuters could not independently confirm any injuries.

Light guards were held overnight in parts of Yangon and Mandalay and some other cities, according to media reports and photographs on social media.

Burials of dead protesters would take place on Tuesday, including in Yangon.

Martial law

Myanmar’s state broadcaster MRTV said martial law had been introduced in parts of Yangon, the country’s commercial hub.

The announcement said military commanders in Yangon would take over the administration of districts, including the courts, MRTV said.

The military says it seized power after allegations of fraud in a November 8 election won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) were rejected by the election commission. It has promised to hold a new election, but has not set a date.

The military has ruled Myanmar for most of the years since independence from Britain in 1948, and cracked down on previous uprisings before agreeing to the latest attempt to move to democracy, now derailed.

Suu Kyi, 75, has been detained since the coup and is facing various charges, including illegal importation of walkie-talkie radio and intrusion into coronavirus protocols. Last week, the junta accused her of accepting illegal payments, but she has not yet been charged.

Western countries have called for Suu Kyi’s release and condemned the violence, and Asian neighbors have offered to help resolve the crisis, but Myanmar has a long history of rejecting external intervention.

Chinese concerns

Arson attacks on Sunday against 32 Chinese-invested factories in the Hlaingthaya area of ​​Yangon prompted China’s strongest comments to date on the concern that has gripped its neighbor, where many people see Beijing as supporting the coup.

China’s Global Times reported that “evil attacks” caused $ 37 million in injuries and damage to two Chinese employees. The embassy called on Myanmar’s generals to stop the violence.

Japan’s Fast Retailing Co., known for the UNIQLO brand of casual clothing stores, said on Tuesday that two supplier factories in Myanmar had been lit.

Social media footage circulating on Tuesday showed which media reported that they were another flame from a factory in Hlaingthaya overnight.

The feeling of anti-China has increased since the coup, driven by Beijing’s subdued criticism of the takeover compared to Western condemnation.

Protest leader Thinzar Shunlei Yi said the people of Myanmar did not hate their Chinese neighbors, even though their Beijing rulers had to understand the outrage over China’s perceived support for the junta.

“The Chinese government must stop supporting the coup council if it actually cares about China-Myanmar relations and to protect its businesses,” she said on Twitter.

(REUTERS)