LONDON – The United States and Britain imposed sanctions on military-controlled conglomerates in Myanmar on Thursday as security forces were reported to have killed five more pro-democracy protesters in an unrelenting crackdown on dissent.
Thousands of people held protests against last month s coup in the commercial capital Yangon, central Monywa city, and several other towns on Thursday, according to witnesses and social media posts.
“Are we united? Yes we are,” protesters shouted in Monywa. “The revolution must prevail.”
Myanmar has been rocked by almost daily protests since the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi s elected government on Feb. 1 and installed a junta led by generals. Suu Kyi and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) are being held in detention.
At least 286 people have been killed in the subsequent crackdown as of Wednesday evening, according to figures compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.
“Conditions in Myanmar are deteriorating,” Thomas Andrews, special U.N. rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said in a statement.
“But they will likely get much worse without an immediate, robust, international response in support of those under siege,” he said, calling for an emergency international summit on the crisis.
In Washington, the U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions targeting Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (ed. correct) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited.
Both are part of a vast military-controlled network which spans a variety of sectors from mining to tourism and has enriched the generals.
In a move coordinated with the United States, Britain said it would target Myanma Economic Holdings Ltd, citing serious human rights violations against civilians and its association with senior military figures.
“Today s sanctions target the military s financial interests to help drain the sources of finance for their campaigns of repression against civilians,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.
Earlier U.S. sanctions had hit individuals linked to the coup, while junta leader and army commander General Min Aung Hlaing was already under restrictions due to earlier human rights issues.
The European Union also announced sanctions on 11 individuals on Monday and is expected to target the conglomerates soon.