Yangon (AP) – At least 138 protesters in Myanmar have been killed in mass protests since the coup by the military junta in early February, according to the United Nations.
These include women and children, a UN spokesman said in New York on Monday, citing figures from the organization’s human rights commissioner. The situation in the Asian country deteriorated recently over the weekend – the UN spoke of 18 protesters killed on Saturday and 38 on Sunday.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres condemned the continued violence against peaceful protesters and human rights violations. He also called on the international community to support the people of Myanmar and their pursuit of democracy.
The Myanmar Now news portal reported on Sunday, citing three hospitals, of 59 dead and 129 injured in the former capital Yangon (formerly Rangoon) alone.
Despite the brutal action by the emergency services, thousands of people took to the streets throughout the country on Monday. Irrawaddy newspaper reported that at least four protesters were shot in Myingyan and Mandalay in the north and at least two in Yangon in the south. In parts of the megacity, according to state television, the military was under martial law. This means that these neighborhoods are now fully managed by the military, which can bring people there to court martial, for example.
This was preceded by arson attacks on several Chinese textile factories in Yangon. Many Chinese workers were injured on Sunday, the Chinese embassy said on Facebook. She called on the authorities to protect Chinese companies and Chinese citizens. It is unclear who started the fire. “The military fears the Chinese government, so it wants to protect China’s property, but not the lives of our citizens,” Nay Min Khant, a Yangon citizen, told the German news agency.
In the former Burma, the military came to power on February 1. Since then there have been new mass protests time and again. The protesters demand a return to democratic reforms and the restoration of the Suu Kyi government. The 75-year-old had clearly won the November parliamentary election. She is under house arrest and has to answer in court for several charges.
UN Special Envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, was appalled at the killing of more and more protesters and called for international solidarity with them. You have personally heard from contacts in Myanmar “heartbreaking reports of murders, mistreatment of protesters and torture of prisoners,” he said in a statement. Numerous photos on social networks showed grieving and desperate citizens bending over the corpses of their relatives.
UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, wrote on Twitter: “Junta leaders don’t belong in power, they belong behind bars.” Generals should be cut off from funding and access to weapons. “I appeal to UN member states to heed my call to action,” Andrews said.
A new hearing scheduled for Monday by Suu Kyis had to be postponed to March 24 due to a lack of internet access, the Eleven Myanmar portal wrote, citing her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw. Suu Kyi has been video-linked with the court at each of her hearings.
At the beginning of the week, the military had blocked the internet in many parts of the country; for example, the network only worked sporadically in Yangon. It was the first time the internet had been blocked during the day after being blocked every night for weeks.
Suu Kyi has been charged with several crimes, including inciting insurrection and violating the law on foreign trade and civil protection. During the first two judicial appointments, she was not allowed to be represented by a lawyer. Suu Kyi had previously been under house arrest for a total of 15 years.