Myanmar military reiterates promise to hold elections as dozens killed in protests

Ruben Fields
March 27, 2021

Meanwhile, the military has been stepping up its crackdown on protesters. The resolution called for Myanmar to allow United Nations monitoring officials unrestricted access to assess the country and for the junta to free all those arbitrarily detained.

The United States and Britain imposed sanctions on Myanmar's ruling junta on Thursday, blacklisting military-controlled businesses.

The latest fatalities would bring the total death toll to more than 340 in the army's efforts to stamp out the widespread opposition to the coup.

Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said its tally includes only documented cases, with the actual number likely to be "much higher". One person was killed in Hopin town in the northeast.

The group also said that as of Thursday, 2,981 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced in the crackdown since February 1.

Myanmar's ethnic armed factions will not stand by and do nothing if the junta's forces continue to kill protesters, the leader of one of the main armed groups said. The Nobel Peace Prize victor faces trial on a series of questionable charges.

The World Bank on Friday slashed its forecast for Myanmar's economy to a 10 percent contraction in 2021 from the growth expected previously.

Myanmar "has been heavily affected by protests, worker strikes, and military actions; reductions in mobility; and the ongoing disruption of critical public services in addition to banking, logistics, and internet services", it said.

Both are part of a military-controlled network which spans sectors from mining to tourism and has enriched the generals. MEC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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The United States is designating two entities linked to the coup leaders, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited.

This has raised suspicions that protesters have been deliberately targeted by security forces for killing.

At least four people were killed when security forces opened fire at a crowd protesting outside a police station in Yangon's Dala suburb in the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar Now reported. "The death of these children is especially concerning given that they reportedly were killed while being at home, where they should have been safe from harm", Save the Children said in a statement Tuesday.

While the scale of the protests had been dropping in recent days, activists had called for big demonstrations yesterday.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing on Saturday spoke at a ceremony in Naypyitaw on Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of resistance against the Imperial Japanese military in 1945.

It called for the release of all those detained since the coup and for the military to "withdraw from active engagement in politics".

It said 11 people were killed on Thursday, when it also managed to verify 23 deaths that had occurred previously. Residents heard bangs that could be either stun grenades or gunfire although there was no protest in the area, they said. Soldiers asked the father if everyone in the family was present in the house - when the father said yes, they accused him of lying and shot at him, hitting the girl instead, Myanmar Now reported, quoting the victim's older sister.

Some of NLD leaders had been found guilty of corruption and legal action was being taken against them, he added.

The building was the site of many demonstrations in the first weeks after the coup, which the junta justified by citing fraud in November elections, which the NLD won.

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