In what is being seen as the bloodiest day of protests in Myanmar, more than 100 people were killed by the nation’s military on March 27. Deaths were reported from over 40 cities and towns across Myanmar including Yangon and Mandalay. The regime gunned down not only anti-coup protesters, but also children, as per reports in local media.
But instead of pausing to reflect on their actions, the military celebrated Armed Forces Day. A parade was held in Naypyidaw the presence of Russia’s Deputy Defence Minister Alexander Fomin, and visiting international dignitaries from China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.
But the wider international community has condemned the inhuman actions of the regime. Even those who are perceived as men of war, condemned the bloodshed. Chiefs of Defense of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Kingdom of Denmark, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America issued a joint statement saying, “As Chiefs of Defense, we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services. A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves. We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.”
Meanwhile humanitarian organizations continue to monitor the situation closely and condemned the latest carnage. United Nations issued a statement saying, “The United Nations in Myanmar is horrified by the needless loss of life today with reports of dozens of people shot dead by the military across the country, in the bloodiest day since the coup. The violence is completely unacceptable and must stop immediately. Those responsible must be held to account. As the Special Envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener has said, ensuring peace and defending the people should be the responsibility of any military, but the Tatmadaw has turned against its own people.”
On February 1, 2021, the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) launched a coup d’état deposing Myanmar’s democratically elected government leaders. The coup took place just a day before the Parliament was to swear in the members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party that won the November 2020 elections. The Tatmadaw declared a year-long emergency during which period all power is to be vested in Min Aung Hlaing, who is the Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services. President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were subsequently detained, along with other ministers. 400 elected members of Parliament were placed under house arrest.
Ever since the coup took place, protests have taken place not only in the capital city of Naypyidaw, but also in Yangon, Mandalay, Dawei, Pathein and Chin.
On February 21, Myanmar’s military issued a chilling warning to protesters. A message broadcast on the State-run MRTV said, “Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.” 38 people were reported killed on March 3. On March 11, Myanmar’s military charged Aung San Suu Kyi with corruption alleging that she accepted gold bars and USD 600,000.
*Feature image by MgHla aka Htin Linn Aye via Wikimedia Commons.