Myanmar doctors call for United Nations intervention after protesters killed

Daniel Fowler
March 16, 2021

The worldwide community pleaded for restraint Monday after at least 11 more anti-coup protesters were killed in Myanmar, as demonstrators returned to the streets to demand restored democracy despite an increasingly bloody crackdown by the military junta.

Sunday's violence brings the number of people killed in mass protests since the military wrenched civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power to around 100, though activists and rights groups believe it could be higher. A grassroots movement has sprung up across the country to challenge the takeover with nearly daily protests that the army has tried to crush with increasingly deadly violence.

The junta reacted by imposing martial law over the area and five other townships that are home to around two million people - more than a quarter of the sprawling city's population. That was in addition to two others - Hlaing Thar Yar and neighboring Shwepyitha - announced late Sunday.

Various reports quoting AAPP said most of the deaths Sunday took place in Hlaingthaya, with more than 30 people killed in the suburb.

The human rights campaign group Amnesty International has also accused the military of using "battlefield weapons" on unarmed protestors and carrying out premeditated killings.

The Chinese government, in its first direct expression of concern about the situation in Myanmar, called for media clampdowns and urged Myanmar to take actions to "resolutely avoid a recurrence of such incidents".

"The ongoing brutality, including against medical personnel and destruction of public infrastructure, severely undermines any prospects for peace and stability", she said.

Junta-run media MRTV's evening news broadcast labelled the protesters as "criminals" but did not elaborate. The protestors barricaded themselves in with sandbags, auto tyres and barbed wire when security forces opened fire. Previously, the services were only turned off at night.

Suu Kyi has been detained since the coup and is due to return to court on Monday.

Since the takeover six weeks ago, Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency, with its civilian leaders ousted and detained and military leaders in charge of all government.

The bulk of the deaths on Sunday came from a clash in a garment-producing district in the capital Yangon where multiple Chinese-owned factories were razed.

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Myanmar Now said at least 14 protesters had been killed, according to the local hospital and a rescue worker.

South Korean and Taiwanese manufacturers in Myanmar are being urged to fly their respective national flags after Chinese-funded factories were set on fire and a Taiwanese plant reported destruction of property.

The evening news in Yangon confirmed a death in Tamwe township, saying that security forces opened fire when hundreds of protesters tried to torch a police station.

Candle-lit vigils were held in parts of Yangon and Mandalay and some other towns, according to media reports and photographs on social media.

"They have the ability to influence the protest movement and to inspire the protesters", he added.

United Nations special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener issued a statement earlier condemning the bloodshed "as the military defies global calls, including from the Security Council, for restraint, dialogue and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedom", Dujarric said.

No group claimed responsibility for burning the factories. It has been declared treasonous by the junta.

Fifteen more protesters were shot dead and several people were injured Monday during the continuing deadly crackdown by Myanmar's military regime against anti-regime protests across the country.

In Dawei itself, demonstrators built barricades out of rocks to hinder police on the main roads.

In Kyae Nupyin village, in Launglone township, villagers read Buddhist texts and prayed for the safety and security of all those risking their lives in the face of the increasingly lethal response of the security forces. On nearby country roads, a long convoy of motorcyclists carried the protest message through villages.

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