The civilian leader of the Myanmar government in hiding vowed to continue supporting a “revolution” to overthrow the military that seized power in last month’s coup, while security forces again engaged the protesters with lethal forces, killing the less to seven.
Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was appointed interim vice president by ousted Myanmar lawmakers and is a member of the party of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, addressed the public on Saturday for the first time since the military takeover on February 1.
“This is the nation’s darkest time and the time when dawn is approaching,” he said in a video posted on the shadow government’s website and social media.
“To form a federal democracy, which all the ethnic brothers who have been suffering various kinds of oppressions from the dictatorship for decades really wanted, this revolution is the opportunity for us to unite our efforts,” he said.
He added: “We will never surrender to an unjust army, but let’s shape our future together with our united power. Our mission must be fulfilled.”
At the end of the message, he gave a three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance to the military regime.
On Saturday early, security forces opened fire on protesters, killing four in Mandalay, the second-largest city, two in Pyay in south-central Myanmar, and one in Twante, a suburb of Yangon, the largest city. large of Myanmar. Details of the seven deaths were posted on multiple social media accounts, some accompanied by photos of the victims.
The actual death toll is likely to be higher, as police apparently seized some bodies and some of the victims sustained serious gunshot wounds that doctors and nurses working in makeshift clinics will have a difficult time treating. Many hospitals are occupied by the security forces, and as a result, they are boycotted by medical personnel and rejected by protesters.
The UN’s independent human rights expert for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said last week that credible reports indicated that at least 70 people had died so far, citing increasing evidence of crimes against humanity committed by the military.
Other unofficial but carefully compiled accounts put the death toll since the coup at around 90.
Saturday’s killings did not disturb protesters in Yangon who packed into a downtown shopping area after the official 8 pm curfew to hold a mass candlelight vigil and sing about their cause. The mostly young protesters demonstrated at an intersection where they usually gather for protests during the day.
Nighttime demonstrations were also held in Mandalay and elsewhere.
Police had been aggressively patrolling residential neighborhoods at night, firing into the air and throwing stun grenades as part of the intimidation. They have also conducted targeted raids, removing people from their homes with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, detainees died in custody within hours of being taken away.
Another possible indication of increased resistance emerged on Saturday with photos posted online of a railway bridge said to have been damaged by an explosive charge.
The bridge was described as connecting the Mandalay railway line to Myitkyina, the capital of the northern state of Kachin. The photos show damage to part of a concrete support.
No one took responsibility for the action, which could be seen as support for the national strike by the state railroad workers, part of the civil disobedience movement against the coup.
At the same time, it could also disrupt military reinforcements in Kachin, where ethnic guerrillas have been fighting the central government.
The possibility of sabotage has been openly discussed by some protesters, who warn that they could blow up a pipeline supplying natural gas to China, considered the main supporter of the junta.
In Washington on Friday, the Biden administration announced that it is offering temporary legal residency to people from Myanmar, citing the coup and deadly force against civilians.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism