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Myanmar: 'Stop killing protesters,' UN tells military

March 16, 2021

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has reported that at least 149 protesters have been killed in the crackdown on anti-coup demonstrations and the media.

A woman holds a candle during an anti-coup night protest in Yangon, Myanmar, March 14, 2021.
According to the UNHCR, 11 protesters were killed on Monday and 57 over the weekend Image: Stringer/Reuters

The "unlawful use of lethal force against peaceful protestors" in Myanmar has killed at least 149 people, a spokeswoman for the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHCR) said on Tuesday. 

The international community has condemned the ongoing crackdown on anti-coup protests since Myanmar's military ousted Aung Saan Suu Kyi's elected government on February 1. 

Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman for the UNHCR, has called on Myanmar's military to "stop killing and detaining protesters."

Authorities have arbitrarily detained at least 2,084 people, according to the UNHCR. 

UN spokesman: 'The Secretary-General strongly condemns this ongoing violence against peaceful protesters'

Myanmar cracks down on journalists

Authorities in Myanmar have arrested at least 37 journalists, including 19 who are still in arbitrary detention, Shamdasani said. 

Journalists are reporting that they are receiving threats, while foreign news agencies say they cannot contact their detained reporters. 

The military also suspended the licenses of at least five independent local media outlets, including Democratic Voice of Burma, Mizzima, Myanmar Now, 7 Days and Khit Thit. 

The military government, which calls itself the State Administrative Council (SAC), has ordered media outlets not to describe the junta ousting the elected government as a coup, nor refer to the SAC as the military government.  

The current situation in Myanmar

On Sunday, Myanmar's junta imposed martial law in two districts in its largest city, Yangon, granting the military further powers.

Residents of the targeted districts have fled on flatbed trucks and motorbikes, according to media reports on Tuesday. 

Yangon has witnessed almost daily crackdowns on anti-coup protesters since mass demonstrations began in the South-East Asian country last month. 

Security forces opened fire, used rubber bullets and imposed internet censorship in response to the demonstrations. Yet, anti-coup protesters carry on daily rallies around Myanmar.

Countries including the United States, Canada and Britain have imposed sanctions to pressure Myanmar's military generals amid rising international concern over the situation.

The UN World Food Program (WFP) also warned on Tuesday that the turmoil in Myanmar was largely affecting the economy, which could lead poor families to hunger. 

fb/rt (AFP, DPA, Reuters)