Burma’s military crackdown on anti-coup protests kills at least 2


Burmese police made mass arrests in anti-coup rallies on Sunday and reportedly killed at least two protesters in the fourth week of unrest since taking military power on February 1.

The bloodshed came as the military began to crack down on protests that continued throughout the month after elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was arrested along with President Win Myint and most members of the administration. of Suu Kyi in a military coup.

Some reports said that two protesters were killed in Yangon and Dawei after police fired on protesters, while other versions said that at least three people were killed in Yangon.

The number of deaths could not be immediately independently confirmed, The Associated Press reported. Confirming reports of protester deaths has been difficult amid the chaos and a general lack of official news.

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Police in Yangon, the country’s most populous city, fired tear gas and water cannons as they tried to clear the streets of protesters. There were also reports of shooting by the police, evidenced by photos of live ammunition casings used in assault rifles that were posted on social media.

Protesters shout slogans as police arrive during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Sunday, February 28, 2021 (Associated Press).

Thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand that Suu Kyi be restored to power, challenging false accusations of fraud by the military in her landslide victory for a second five-year term.

Sunday’s violence erupted in the early morning as medical students marched on the streets of Yangon near the intersection of the Hledan Center, which has become the rallying point for protesters who then head to other parts of the city.

Videos and photos showed protesters fleeing as police charged at them and residents erecting makeshift barricades to slow their advance. Nearby, residents pleaded with the police to release those they picked up on the street and put them into police trucks to be taken away. Dozens or more are believed to have been arrested.

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The police have resorted to tougher preventive action and tens to hundreds of arrests to quell dissent, and many have been taken to Insein Prison on the northern outskirts of Yangon, historically known for holding political prisoners.

According to the Association for the Independent Assistance of Political Prisoners, as of Saturday, 854 people had been detained, charged or convicted at some point in connection with the coup, and 771 were being held or wanted for arrest. The group said that while it had documented 75 new arrests, it understood that hundreds of other people were also detained in Yangon and elsewhere on Saturday.

The government also fired its ambassador to the United Nations on Saturday night for condemning the coup, or as the military called it, “betraying” the country.

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Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun in New York City said on Friday that he represented the “civilian government elected by the people” of Suu Kyi and supported protests against the coup. He urged other counties to condemn the coup.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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