Thursday, 27 January 2022

Myanmar forces kill at least 18 protesters

Protesters react as police fire tear gas during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay. ( (Photo: STR/AFP)

YANGON: At least 18 anti-coup protesters were killed in one of the deadliest days since Myanmar was thrust back under military rule, as a group of ousted MPs urged citizens to “defend themselves” during the nation’s “darkest moment”.

But the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group, put the death toll at 38, 22 of them in the Hlaingtharyar district of Yangon alone, The death toll would equal that of March 3, which had previously recorded more deaths than any other day.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military wrenched civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in a February 1 putsch, triggering a mass uprising that has seen hundreds of thousands protest daily for a return to democracy.

A group of elected MPs, many of whom are in hiding, have now formed a shadow “parliament” called the Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) — the Burmese terms for the country’s governing bloc — to denounce the military regime.

They issued a statement saying protesters had the “full right to defend themselves” under the country’s penal code against security forces who are “harming and causing violence”.

Soldiers and police have in recent weeks been staging near-daily crackdowns against demonstrators calling for a return to democracy — deploying tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to quell anti-coup protests.


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