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World

Global condemnation after bloodiest day since Myanmar coup

  • "The people are worried about whether the air strikes would come again today," she told AFP.
Published March 28, 2021
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YANGON: Defence chiefs from a dozen countries on Sunday jointly condemned the bloodbath in Myanmar a day earlier, when at least 90 people -- including several children -- were killed after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the generals ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering mass protests demanding a return to democracy.

The junta on Saturday staged a major show of might for its annual Armed Forces Day as the death toll since the February 1 coup climbed to at least 423, according to a local monitoring group.

The defence ministers of 12 countries including the United States, Britain, Japan and Australia condemned the Myanmar military's use of lethal force against civilians.

"A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting -- not harming -- the people it serves," the rare joint statement said.

"We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions."

Mourners were expected to turn out for funeral processions across the country Sunday, after the bloodiest day since the putsch.

Protesters with flags hit the streets in the morning at Bago city, northeast of Yangon, and the small town of Moe Kaung in Kachin State.

A day earlier violence erupted across the country with the military using live rounds in nine regions, including the largest city Yangon, local monitoring group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.

By sunset, AAPP said at least 90 people had been killed. Local media, however, put the death toll higher at 114.

"Junta forces shot machine guns into residential areas, resulting in many civilians, including six children between ten and sixteen years old, killed," AAPP said.

"The fact the illegitimate military regime is targeting children is a grave act of inhumanity."

Rebels in eastern Myanmar's Karen state said they had been targeted in air strikes late Saturday, hours after the ethnic armed group seized a military base.

Hsa Moo, an ethnic Karen and human right activist said three people were killed and at least eight were injured.

"The people are worried about whether the air strikes would come again today," she told AFP.

It was the first air assault in years in the state, and targeted the Fifth Brigade of the Karen National Union (KNU) -- one of the country's largest armed groups -- which says it represents the ethnic Karen people.

The junta did not immediately comment, and there was no official confirmation of any casualties.

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Global condemnation after bloodiest day since Myanmar coup

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