Call for a global embargo on arms deliveries, closed meeting of the UN Security Council, new American sanctions: international pressure is intensifying on the Burmese junta, still deaf to criticism in the face of the escalation of its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters still in the streets this Friday.
At least 38 people, according to the United Nations – the heaviest death toll since the February 1 coup – were killed on Wednesday by security forces, who fired live ammunition at rallies of protesters, sparking new international protests.
In a report released Thursday, Thomas Andrews, an independent expert commissioned by the UN, underlines that “even if the future of Burma is determined by its people, the international community must act urgently and decisively to support it” .
The United Nations special rapporteur therefore recommends to the Security Council, which is meeting behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the situation in this country, to “impose a global arms embargo” on it, as he is already doing, according to him, the Europeans and Canada, further calling for “targeted economic sanctions” against the Burmese generals.
Despite the fear of reprisals, demonstrations were organized in several cities of the country on Friday. In Rangoon, the economic capital of the country, the district of San Chaung was, as in previous days, the subject of a face to face for the moment peaceful with the police, the demonstrators protecting themselves behind makeshift barricades built with old tires, sandbags, and barbed wire.
A group of several hundred engineers demonstrated in the streets of Mandalay, Burma’s second city, chanting “Free our leader!” and “don’t serve the army, go!”.
In the middle-sized town of Bago, north-east of Rangoon, a small group marched with 3 fingers raised in resistance, brandishing signs that read “we do not accept the military coup”.
The junta seems more determined than ever to put out the wind of rebellion blowing on Burma since the putsch which overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Trade sanctions imposed by Washington
The United States announced on Thursday new trade sanctions against Burma: the US Department of Commerce said it had imposed “new restrictions on exports” to the country and had blacklisted the Burmese defense ministries and of the Interior, “responsible for the coup”, as well as “two commercial entities owned and managed by the Ministry of Defense”.
These measures are in addition to the financial sanctions already imposed on the heads of the military junta which overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi and his government on February 1. “We will continue to take measures against the junta,” US diplomacy spokesman Ned Price warned in a tweet.