“Dozens” of people were killed on Saturday, according to the UN, in the crackdown on new pro-democracy protests in Burma. The army engaged in a show of force, parading an impressive arsenal in the capital Naypyidaw.
“We are receiving reports of dozens of deaths, including children, hundreds of injured in 40 localities, and mass arrests. This violence aggravates the illegitimacy of the coup and the culpability of its leaders, ”the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a tweet.
The brutality of the repression has led to a series of international condemnations and sanctions affecting the assets of many powerful military personnel, including their leader, but diplomatic pressure has so far had little impact.
The United States, the European Union and Great Britain have condemned the “murders” committed by the military in the country, which has been going through a serious crisis since the military coup on February 1. For London, “a new level” has been crossed in the repression.
“The armed forces kill unarmed civilians, including children, people it has rightly sworn to protect,” condemned the United States embassy in Yangon in a statement posted on its Facebook page. “This 76th day of the armed forces will be remembered as a day of terror and dishonor. The killings of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts, ”reacted the EU embassy in Yangon on Twitter and Facebook. The British ambassador said in a statement that “the extrajudicial killings say a lot about the priorities of the military junta”.
Pro-democracy activists called for a new round of protests on Saturday, when the army annually organizes a gigantic military parade in front of the army chief, now head of the ruling junta, General Min Aung Hlaing.
For the traditional Armed Forces Day which commemorates the resistance against the Japanese occupation during World War II, thousands of soldiers, tanks, missiles and helicopters followed one another on a huge esplanade of Naypyidaw, in front of an audience of generals Russian and Chinese delegations.
General Min Aung Hlaing again defended the coup, accusing the November elections, won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, of irregularity, and pledged a “transfer of state responsibility” after elections. “Acts of ‘terrorism which can harm the peace and security of the state’ are unacceptable,” he said in a speech.
According to an advocacy group for political prisoners, 330 people have been killed in the unrest since the coup.