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Over 90 killed in Myanmar in one of bloodiest days of protests

Over 90 killed in Myanmar in one of bloodiest days of protests
Anti-coup protesters hide behind a barricade during the crackdown on March 27. (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
NAYPYITAW, MAR 27 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 3/27/2021 12:25:48 PM IST

Security forces killed more than 90 people across Myanmar on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said.

The lethal crackdown came on Armed Forces Day. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark the event that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

State television had said on Friday that protesters risked being shot “in the head and back”. Despite this, demonstrators against the February 1 coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people were killed across the country by security forces. A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 29 people killed in Mandalay. At least 24 people were killed in Yangon, Myanmar Now said.

“Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,” Dr Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people - including a lieutenant colonel - and losing one of its own fighters. The deaths on Saturday would take the number of civilians reported killed since the coup to well over 400.

“This 76th Myanmar armed forces day will stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour,” the EU delegation to Myanmar said. “The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts.”

In Naypyitaw, Gen Min Aung Hlaing reiterated a promise to hold elections, without giving any time-frame. “The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy,” he said in a live broadcast on state television.

International pressure on the junta increased this week with new US and European sanctions. But Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended the parade in Naypyitaw, having met senior junta leaders a day earlier. “Russia is a true friend,” Min Aung Hlaing said.

Diplomats said eight countries - Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand - sent representatives, but Russia was the only one to send a minister.

 

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