Protester funerals held across Myanmar after Saturday ‘massacre’

Suu Kyi

Funerals were being held across Myanmar on Sunday, the day after a military crackdown on anti-coup protests that a UN human rights official described as a “massacre.”

The funeral processions were held in cities including Yangon, Meiktila, Monywa and Mandalay, local media including Mizzima, Khit Thit News and RFA reported.

The bloodiest day of violence so far on Saturday – which marked Armed Forces Day in Myanmar – reportedly left 114 people dead.

It took the number killed in the suppression of protests since the February 1 coup to 423, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group.

The military seized control of the South-East Asian country after an election which Aung San Suu Kyi’s ruling party won by a landslide.

Protests in different parts of the country were also reported on Sunday. Residents near Hlaing township reported that soldiers threw grenades at protesters. There were no immediate reports of deaths.

“Since the morning, the military has fired shots in our neighbourhoods,” Hnin Yu, a female 24-year-old resident, told dpa. “People are afraid of going out and some were injured. They are still shooting.”

In another township, Aung Myay Thazan, a man was shot and then burned alive by the military, according to a local journalist who asked to remain anonymous.

“This morning, we only saw his body burned,” she told dpa.

Tom Andrews, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, described the killings on Saturday as the “Armed Forces Day massacre,” and a “day of infamy.”

An emergency summit should be organized and convened immediately, he said.

“Security forces should be denied access to weapons or dual-use technology that can be weaponized and deployed against the people of Myanmar,” he said. “Investigations and prosecutions should be initiated to hold those responsible … accountable.”

Alice Wairimu Nderitu, the UN’s special adviser on the prevention of genocide, and Michelle Bachelet, the high commissioner for human rights, added their condemnation, saying: “Saturday witnessed the bloodiest day since the demonstrations against the coup began … The international community has a responsibility to protect the people of Myanmar.”

Defence chiefs from 12 countries on Sunday also slammed the military for its use of violence against peaceful protesters.

“We condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services,” read the joint statement from the US, Britain, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan.

The military chiefs urged Myanmar’s armed forces to cease violence and work to “restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.”

“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves.”

Myanmar’s military celebrated Armed Forces Day with parades and speeches on Saturday, turning a deaf ear to the increasingly deadly and non-stop protests against its seizure of power last month.

It is impossible to independently verify the death toll in Myanmar because of Myanmar’s crackdown on journalists and restrictions on internet use.

A tally by the independent Myanmar Now news portal reported 114 killed in 44 towns and cities on Saturday. A count by the Irrawaddy newspaper put the toll at 59 dead, among them three children.

Source: GNA

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