Burma: nine protesters killed despite UN condemnation of violence

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Nine demonstrators were killed Thursday in Burma where the junta continues its repression, despite the condemnation of violence by the UN, also launching new corruption charges against former leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

In the Myaing region, in the center of the country, “six men were shot dead and eight people were injured, one of whom is in critical condition,” a rescuer told AFP. Five of them were shot in the head, according to another witness.

A seventh death was recorded in a district in the east of Rangoon, the economic capital of the country: Chit Min Thu, 25, was also killed by a bullet in the head. “I recently learned that his wife is two months pregnant,” the mother of the deceased, Hnin Malar Aung, told AFP.

In Bago, a town northeast of Yangon, Zaw Zaw Aung, 33, deaf, died of a bullet in the head, his father, Myint Lwin, told AFP.

A 30-year-old man was also killed in Mandalay, the country’s second city, where two other people were injured, according to a rescuer. “We could not recover his body because the rescue teams are also targeted,” he said.

A man injured eight days ago in Monywa (center), as well as another, a 26-year-old banker from the nearby town of Myingyan, shot on Wednesday, died Thursday of their injuries.

The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners on Wednesday counted at least 60 civilians killed and nearly 2,000 people arrested since the military coup of February 1.

The junta, under pressure since the UN Security Council condemned the violence on Wednesday, launched new corruption charges against the former head of the civilian government, Aung San Suu Kyi, on Thursday.

Overturned by the coup d’état and held in solitary since, the former leader is now suspected of having received 600,000 dollars in bribes and more than 11 kilos of gold.

“It’s time to talk”

The Nobel Peace Prize winner has already been indicted earlier this month for violating a telecommunications law and “inciting public disturbance”. She was already being prosecuted for illegally importing walkie-talkies and failing to comply with restrictions related to the coronavirus.

In its declaration adopted unanimously by the 15 members, and therefore also by China and Russia, traditional allies of the Burmese generals, the United Nations executive body attacked the army in an unprecedented way on Wednesday. calls for “the utmost restraint”.

Denouncing the violent actions of the security forces “against peaceful demonstrators, including women, young people and children”, the Council calls on the parties to “seek a peaceful solution” to the crisis, in this text drafted by the United Kingdom .

He also calls for “the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained”, without however mentioning the possibility of international sanctions.

“Now is the time to de-escalate” and “it is time for dialogue,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun said.

“Criticizing the military is a first for China,” noted a European diplomat on condition of anonymity.

The United States also intervened, adopting sanctions against two children of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.

Raids against homes, hospitals, universities, mass arrests, shooting live ammunition: the junta seems however more determined than ever to want to extinguish the largely peaceful wind blowing on Burma.

Weapons of war

Human rights organization Amnesty International on Thursday denounced “extrajudicial executions” and the use of weapons of war.

The organization said in a statement that it analyzed 55 videos, filmed between February 28 and March 8 by members of the public and local media, showing that “lethal force is used in a planned, premeditated and coordinated manner” by the organization. Burmese army.

Occupied on several fronts, the army is also seeking to concentrate its action on demonstrations.

The state newspaper The Mirror announced Thursday that the Arakan army, in conflict with the junta in Rakhine state (west), would no longer be considered a terrorist organization by the government.

This armed group is fighting for greater autonomy for the Buddhist population, known as Rakhine, in the state of the same name. The conflict with the Burmese military has left hundreds of people dead in nearly two years and forced some 200,000 people to flee their homes.

“The soldiers of Tatmadaw (the Burmese army) have many enemies, they do not want to operate on too many fronts at the same time and the most pressing front at the moment is against the ethnic majority of the Burmese in the big centers urban ”, explained to AFP Hervé Lemahieu, expert at the Lowy Institute in Australia.

The passage in force of the generals, alleging vast electoral fraud in the legislative elections of November won massively by the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (LND), put an end to a decade of democratic transition in Burma.