Troops fire at funeral as Myanmar mourns bloodiest day since coup

Monday, 29 Mar, 2021

As of Friday, March 26, the number of protesters killed since the takeover was 328, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which documents all deaths and arrests.

A message was spread on state television warning young people against participating in the so-called "violent movement" against military domination: "Learn your lesson - it is said - from those who have been brutally killed".

There were no reports yesterday of large-scale protests in Yangon or in the country's second-biggest city, Mandalay, which bore the brunt of the casualties on Saturday.

"The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy", he said.

The association said as of Thursday, 2,981 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced in the crackdown since the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. It has again made Myanmar the focus of worldwide scrutiny as security forces have repeatedly fired into crowds of protesters.

Protesters occupy a street during a rally against the military coup in Yangon yesterday. During her 2012 visit to Myanmar, Power harbored prescient concerns about Aung San Suu Kyi's disinclination to prioritize the rights of Myanmar's persecuted minorities. One person was killed when troops opened fire overnight on a group of protesters near the capital Naypyitaw, Myanmar Now news reported.

But it has not so far stopped either the demonstrations against the February 1 takeover - or the violent response of the military and police to them.

The protesters refer to the holiday by its original name, Resistance Day, which marks the beginning of a revolt against Japanese occupation in World War II.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar's most popular civilian politician, remains in detention at an undisclosed location.

Unlike other media outlets covering the coup, the state-run channel has claimed that armed people were among demonstrators said to be shooting at soldiers and police, and these purported armed protesters had caused the soldiers of the junta to shoot and kill the ralliers.

The U.S. Treasury Department said its action against Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited targets the army's control of large parts of the country's economy, "which is a vital financial lifeline for the military junta". Its data shows that around a quarter of them died from shots to the head, raising suspicions they were targeted for killing.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said he was "deeply shocked" by what took place.

Kyaw Win, the director of the Burma Human Rights Network in the United Kingdom, told BBC News that the military had shown it had "no limits, no principles".

Myanmar's economy is already battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which surged there in the second half of previous year. "The Myanmar military leadership should recall that the military is an organization for protecting the lives of its people from foreign threats".

Russian Federation and China have so far not commented on the recent violence in Myanmar.

In a statement on Twitter, the U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, Thomas L. Vajda, denounced what he described as "horrifying" bloodshed and called for "an immediate end to the violence and the restoration of the democratically elected government".