Sunday, December 5

Myanmar’s “darkest moment”: death toll rises dramatically as junta crackdown continues | Myanmar


At least 18 people have died in one of the deadliest days since Myanmar was repelled by the military government, as a group of ousted MPs urged citizens to defend themselves during the nation’s “darkest moment”.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military forced civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi from power in a coup on February 1, sparking a massive uprising that has led to hundreds of thousands of people. protest daily for the return to democracy.

The junta has repeatedly justified its takeover by alleging widespread electoral fraud in the November elections, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party overwhelmingly won.

More than 80 people have been killed in the military offensive against protesters, but the number is expected to increase dramatically after Sunday’s violence, marking it as one of the deadliest days as Myanmar enters its seventh week under the regime. of the board.

In Yangon’s huge Hlaing Tharyar Township, police and soldiers clashed with stick and knife-wielding protesters as they hid behind makeshift barricades and fled after security forces opened fire.

The protesters, who used clipped garbage cans as shields, managed to retrieve the wounded, but a doctor said not all could be reached.

“I can confirm that 15 have died,” the doctor told AFP, adding that she had treated about 50 injured people and hopes the death toll will rise.

“I can’t speak much, injured people keep coming,” he said before hanging up.

The vigilance group Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, which verifies arrests and deaths since the coup, confirmed a higher death toll.

Throughout the day, residents hiding in their homes heard gunshots as smoke billowed over the streets, while military trucks were seen passing through Hlaing Tharyar.

A police officer posted a TikTok video hours before the crackdown, saying with a voiceover that they would be bringing heavy weapons. “I will have no mercy on Hlaing Tharyar and they will also fight seriously because there are all kinds of characters there,” said the officer under the account @ aungthuraphyo40.

The video, which was viewed and verified by AFP factcheckers, was removed hours later.

State media on Sunday night gave no further details on the violence, but said that five factories in the clothing production municipality had been razed. Among the burned buildings were Chinese-owned factories, the Myanmar embassy said, condemning the actions of the “destroyers” in a statement posted on its official Facebook.

Protesters take cover behind homemade shields in Hlaing Tharyar Township
Protesters take refuge behind homemade shields in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar Township on Sunday. Photograph: AFP / Getty Images

The evening news also confirmed another death in Tamwe Township, saying that hundreds of protesters attempted to set fire to a police station, prompting authorities to open fire to disperse them.

Similar scenes of chaos unfolded throughout the day in other parts of Myanmar: a person shot dead in the northern city of Hpakant and a woman killed after being shot in the head in Mandalay.

Despite daily bloodshed, members of the anti-coup movement remain defiant and have hardened their opposition in recent weeks.

“I have seen fallen heroes give their lives,” said Ma Khine Lay, 21, admitting that she was scared even as she rebuilt brick and bamboo barricades in a Yangon township.

“I will fight until the end”.

The violence came a day after the acting vice chairman of the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representation Committee, a shadow parliament made up of elected deputies, called for people to continue protesting against the “unjust dictatorship” of the military.

“This is the darkest time in the nation and the pre-dawn light is near,” Mahn Win Khaing Than said in a recorded video posted on CRPH’s Facebook page Saturday night.

A high-ranking NLD politician who served as Speaker of the House during Suu Kyi’s previous administration was placed under house arrest during the February 1 coup, according to the monitoring group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners.

The junta, self-proclaimed as the State Administration Council, has said that the formation of the CRPH is similar to “high treason,” which carries a maximum sentence of 22 years in prison.


www.theguardian.com

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