Extra Bloodshed in Myanmar as Crackdown on Coup Protests Continues

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The Myanmar army’s bloody crackdown on the nationwide resistance to its rule confirmed no signal of easing on Sunday, with a human rights group reporting that the loss of life toll throughout the nation had handed 700.

The safety forces killed 82 individuals in a single metropolis on Friday, in keeping with the group, the Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners, which has been documenting the bloodshed because the army’s Feb. 1 coup. Troopers used machine weapons and rocket-propelled grenades to assault an organized group of protesters who had arrange barricades to defend a part of that metropolis, Bago.

The army seems to be concentrating on facilities of resistance across the nation, utilizing overwhelming energy in opposition to largely untrained, poorly armed protesters. In Tamu, a city close to the border with India, members of an area protection group much like the one in Bago claimed to have killed some members of the safety forces on Saturday after coming below assault.

The safety forces’ assault in Bago, about 40 miles northeast of Yangon, Myanmar’s largest metropolis, was one in every of their most deadly but. A good information outlet, Myanmar Now, additionally put the loss of life toll in Bago at 82.

On Friday, a spokesman for the junta, Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun, urged that the army had been exercising restraint because the coup, telling reporters that it could possibly be killing many extra individuals if it wished.

“If we have been to truly shoot the protesters with an automated rifle, the five hundred individuals you’re speaking about would have died inside hours,” he mentioned after being requested concerning the nationwide toll.

A pacesetter of the protection group in Bago, Ko Myo Kyaw, mentioned the army had opened hearth with heavy weapons earlier than daybreak to destroy the barricades that the protesters had arrange, and that the taking pictures continued all through the day. There was little the defenders may do, he mentioned.

“We don’t have deadly weapons,” mentioned Mr. Myo Kyaw, whose brother was amongst these killed. “We solely have slingshots and air weapons.”

Survivors of the assault have fled the town and are regrouping, Mr. Myo Kyaw mentioned. “We’ll by no means surrender,” he mentioned. “They have to pay for what they did to our metropolis.”

The United Nations workplace in Myanmar mentioned on Twitter that the violence in Bago “must cease immediately” and urged the army to let medical groups deal with the wounded.

Members of the native protection group in Tamu, which calls itself the Tamu Safety Group, mentioned that as in Bago, the safety forces had attacked its defenses on Saturday with machine weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

Members of the safety forces have been killed within the ensuing clashes, in keeping with two members of the protection group.

Their claims couldn’t be independently confirmed. However killing a number of members of the safety forces could be a big growth within the violence because the coup, which has been overwhelmingly one-sided.

A small, little-known insurgent group referred to as the Kuki Nationwide Military, one in every of many ethnic armed teams which were combating Myanmar’s army for years in regional conflicts, mentioned it had helped the Tamu protesters battle the safety forces on Saturday, however the extent of its involvement was unclear. Some leaders of the protest motion have referred to as on insurgent armies to affix forces.

Over the weekend, rights teams accused the army of attempting to intimidate protesters with a brand new tactic: loss of life sentences in a army court docket. On Friday, state tv reported that 23 individuals had been sentenced to die after a closed trial for killing a soldier on March 26 in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest metropolis.

The case was dealt with by a army court docket as a result of the alleged killing — mentioned to contain a theft — occurred in a district in Yangon that was below martial legislation. All however two of the defendants are in hiding and have been tried in absentia, the state tv report mentioned.

It was not clear whether or not the defendants have been protesters. However Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, referred to as the trial “one other instance of the junta’s all-out effort to pressure individuals off the streets and crush the civil disobedience motion.”

Daw Aye Aye Thwin, whose son, Ko Bo Bo Thu, 27, is likely one of the two defendants in custody, mentioned he was at house on the time of the killing and had nothing to do with it. She mentioned she had not been capable of see him since his arrest and discovered of the sentence on Friday, a day after it was handed down.

“Now I really feel like my world is gone,” she mentioned. “I simply wish to attraction to the authorities to not kill my son.”

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