Myanmar forces kill 91 protesters including children ‘Horrifying’ day of bloodshed: US envoy

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Today is a day of shame for armed forces: CRPH


Naypyitaw

Security forces killed more than 90 people, including some children, 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, which took place on Armed Forces Day, drew strong renewed criticism from Western countries.

British Ambassador Dan Chugg said the security forces had “disgraced themselves” and the U.S. envoy called the violence horrifying.

Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

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

“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.

The deaths on Saturday, one of the bloodiest days since the coup, would take the number of civilians reported killed to well over 400. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in parts of Myanmar on Saturday.

A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 13 people killed in Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay. The Myanmar Now news portal said 91 people had been killed in total across the country by 2:30pm.

Three people, including a man who plays in a local under-21 football team, were killed in a protest in the Insein district of Myanmar’s biggest city Yangon, a neighbour told Reuters.

“They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. “We will keep protesting regardless … We must fight until the junta falls.”

Deaths were reported from the central Sagaing region, Lashio in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere. A one-year-old baby was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet.

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.

Myanmar’s ethnic armed factions will not stand by and allow more killings, the leader of one of the main armed groups said on Saturday.

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces or the insurgent attack on its post.

After presiding over a military parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark Armed Forces Day, Senior General Hlaing reiterated a promise to hold elections after overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, without giving any time-frame.—Reuters