Breaking: UN chief slams Myanmar’s military junta for deadly crackdown
The United Nations has censured Myanmar’s military junta for deadly crackdown on anti-coup protesters in the country.
The condemnation by UN Chief Antonio Guterres came after Myanmar’s security forces used live ammunition on Saturday to disperse protesters demanding the return of ousted de facto leader Aung Sun Suu Kyi who was arrested in a coup on February 1.
According to Press TV, volunteer emergency services said two people were killed and at least 20 others injured in Myanmar’s second-largest city and cultural capital, Mandalay, which marked the deadliest day in more than two weeks of nationwide street demonstrations.
“The use of lethal force, intimidation & harassment against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable,” Guterres said in a statement.
The violence on Saturday erupted when security forces in Mandalay attempted to raid a shipyard and detain port staff on strike to protest the military coup.
Local media reports said the forces used live rounds and rubber bullets against a crowd of people who had started flinging rocks in an effort to stop the arrests.
“Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service agency in the city.
“One shot in the head died at the spot. Another one died later with a bullet wound to the chest,” said a volunteer doctor. Police targeted protesters with live rounds and rubber bullets, he added.
A graphic video circulated on Facebook showing a teenaged victim, splayed on the ground and bleeding from his head as a bystander placed a hand on his chest to feel for a heartbeat.
UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar Tom Andrews said he was horrified by the violence and called for an end to the deadly crackdown.
“From water cannons to rubber bullets to tear gas and now hardened troops firing point blank at peaceful protesters. This madness must end,” he said on Twitter.
Protesters have over the past weeks been demanding the restoration of the elected government and the release of Suu Kyi and other political leaders.
The junta has come under pressure by the international community to hand over power to civilians and release the officials, but the military has defied the calls, deploying armored vehicles and soldiers in some major cities to crack down on protests.