Yangon (dpa) – According to media reports, 19 people in Myanmar have been sentenced to death. You would have been found guilty in connection with the murder of a member of the military, military broadcaster Myawaddy TV quoted a junta statement Friday night.
17 of the convicts are still on the run. The incident took place on the Army’s Official Day of Remembrance on March 27 in Yangon’s North Okkalapa District, which is under martial law. According to local residents and local media, the convicts were civilians protesting the military coup against Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi. On that day, military violence in Myanmar peaked with more than 100 deaths.
Junta members and police officers reportedly used live ammunition and aimed headshots at unarmed civilians during nationwide protests. “On that day they killed people in our neighborhood and fired shots at civilian homes,” Min Min, a resident of North Okkalapa, told the German news agency Saturday. Before the current death penalty, the military found the body of a family member and arrested people in the districts for it, he said. “But they can kill us as they want and rule according to the laws that suit them.”
On Friday, the junta had discussed plans to extend the year-long state of emergency it had imposed in the crisis country “by six months or more,” as spokesman Zaw Min Tun said in an interview with US broadcaster CNN. At the same time, he assured that “free and fair elections” would be organized, as stipulated in the constitution. “The democratic standards in Myanmar will not be the same as in Western countries.”
He described the military violence as a response to riots by protesters. After renewed violence against protesters on Friday, the media reported dozens of deaths in the city of Bago. Protesters across the country also took to the streets on Saturday. There was initially no information about the victims among the protesters.
Meanwhile, according to media reports, more than a dozen police officers were killed in an attack by armed ethnic groups in northern Shan State. The attack on a police station near the city of Lashio lasted about an hour, the “Myanmar Now” portal reported, citing witnesses. It was only when the junta helicopters arrived that the attackers withdrew. The police station was on fire and several people were injured.
At the end of March, the alliance of three rebel groups threatened to support the population if the junta did not end the violence. The new military leadership must resolve the political crisis and respond to the demands of the population. If the military fails to meet these requirements and continues to kill, people will be helped to defend themselves, a statement said at the time.
The multi-ethnic state of Myanmar is home to 135 nationally recognized ethnic groups. Especially in Kachin state in the north and in Shan state in the east there has been new fighting between the army and armed groups for a long time. Long before the revolution, more than 20 ethnic communities across the country fought for greater autonomy and self-determination.