According to the UN human rights office, at least 18 people were killed and several others were injured after police and military forces “confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force” in multiple locations in Myanmar on Sunday.
Police used tear gas and stun grenades in the country’s largest city Yangon in a bid to disperse protesters, who have been demonstrating for weeks against the military takeover of the country on February 1.
Three men were killed and at least 20 others injured when security forces moved on a rally in the southern coastal hub of Dawei, according to a volunteer medic and local media reports.
At least eight people have been wounded and more than 50 arrested by riot people in #Yangon’s Hledan, Thingangyun, Kyimyindaing, Botahtaung and Alone Townships as people just began to take to the streets for a second #GeneralStrike against the military regime on Sunday.
“We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protestors,” UN Human Rights officials said in a released statement.
Throughout the day, in several locations throughout the country, police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that – according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office – has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded.
Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku. Tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades.
The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression.
Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms.
In an announcement on military-run television on Monday, Feb. 1 the Southeast Asian nation’s army said that it has taken control over the country and declared a state of emergency for a year. Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained in an early morning raid along on Monday with other senior ruling party figures, has since been charged with breaching import and export laws, and possession of unlawful communication devices. She has been remanded in custody until February 15.
Several diplomatic missions in Myanmar had warned against a military coup as tensions flared between the civilian government and the military after November’s general election. European nations joined the US on Monday in threatening sanctions against Myanmar’s military leaders. The military says it carried out detentions in response to election fraud, a claim the Election Commission rejects.
Demonstrators gathered on Tuesday, Feb. 23 to continue protesting and to attend the funeral of a 37-year-old man, shot dead by security forces on Saturday. Thousands of protesters crowded the streets in several cities on Monday in some of the largest demonstrations against Myanmar’s military regime to date, dubbed the “22222” uprising. The country has seen weeks of protests after the army overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. On Saturday, police used live ammunition against protestors in Mandalay.