The UN Security Council calls for restraint in Myanmar as the US imposes new sanctions

The UN Security Council on Wednesday condemned violence against protesters in Myanmar and called on the army to exercise restraint, but failed to condemn the military takeover as a coup or threatened further action due to resistance from China and Russia.

More than 60 protesters have been killed and about 2,000 people have been detained by security forces since the coup on February 1 against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said.

On Wednesday, security forces such as tear gas and rubber bullets captured hundreds of anti-junta protesters late at night in two districts of Yangon.

Some protesters who managed to avoid blockades set up by the police in the surrounding streets told of lots of arrests and said that some of those who were caught were beaten.

In an attempt to increase pressure on the military as it continues its power, the US Treasury Department on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two children of military leader Min Aung Hlaing and six companies they control.

“The indiscriminate violence by Burma’s security forces against peaceful protesters is unacceptable,” said Andrea Gacki, director of the Office of Foreign Access Control.

The Justice for Myanmar campaign group said in January that Min Aung Hlaing, who has been commander-in-chief since 2011, “abused his power to benefit his family, who have benefited from their access to state resources and the military’s total impunity.”

Britain is also exploring new sanctions, Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said in a tweet.

In New York, the UN Security Council said in a statement that it “condemns the violence against peaceful protesters, including women, young people and children.

“The Council urges the military to exercise the utmost restraint and stresses that they are monitoring the situation closely.”

But languages ​​that would have condemned the coup and threatened any further action were removed from the British-drafted text due to opposition from China, Russia, India and Vietnam.

A junta’s spokesman did not respond to a request for comment. The military has abolished the condemnation of its actions, as it has done in previous periods of military rule when violent outbursts of protest have been suppressed.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he hoped the Security Council statement would drive the military to realize that “it is imperative” that all prisoners be released and that the results of an election in November be respected.

The military has justified the coup by saying that the election, won by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was devastated by fraud – a claim rejected by the Electoral Commission. The junta has promised a new election but has not said when.

Guterres acknowledged that Myanmar was not a “perfect democracy” before the coup.

“It was still strongly under military control in many respects, making this coup even more difficult to understand, especially the allegations of electoral fraud by those who largely controlled the country,” he said.

Civil disobedience

State TV MRTV announced arrest warrants for some of the most notorious youth leaders and showed a picture of 29 wanted protesters. The demonstrators have called for international protection and action against the junta.

On Wednesday, police raided a compound in Yangon home staff and surrounded hundreds of protesters in the north Okkalapa district, in another part of town. More than 100 people were arrested at the two locations, witnesses say.

Many of the railway staff are part of a civil disobedience movement that has paralyzed government business and included strikes at banks, factories and shops.

The police and the army did not respond to requests for comment.

A youth told Reuters in a statement that other protesters had been beaten and beaten. He escaped by hiding in a large washing machine, he said.

“Tomorrow I will continue to protest. I’m not going to quit. The goal is very clear that we want democracy. We want our elected government back, he said, and did not want his name published.

In the central cities of Mingyan and Monywa, people defied night ban orders to keep candles lit.

A protester told Reuters from the southern coastal town of Myeik that he had been taken to Myeik Air Base and beaten with belts, chains, bamboo sticks and batons.

“The soldiers said, ‘This is hell, why do you not have a taste?’ “” He said, refusing to give his name for fear of reprisals. Reuters could not contact city police or the air base for comment.

Some police have refused to fire on unarmed protesters and have fled to neighboring India, according to an interview with an officer and classified Indian police documents.

An Israeli-Canadian lobbyist employed by the Myanmar junta will be paid $ 2 million to “help explain the real situation” for the coup to the United States and other countries, according to documents submitted to the US government.

Ari Ben-Menashe told Reuters on Saturday that his task was to convince Washington that Myanmar’s generals wanted to move closer to the west and away from China. He said they wanted to resettle Rohingya Muslims fleeing a 2017 attack that the UN has accused the military of monitoring a genocide.

(REUTERS)