Myanmar security forces opened fire on protesters against military rule again on Wednesday. The shooting came a day after calls for restraint and offers to solve the crisis from neighboring countries.
The Associated Press reported at least eight people were killed Wednesday including a 14-year-old boy. The United Nations’ Human Rights Office said security forces also killed at least 18 protesters last Sunday. And Reuters has reported that at least 40 people have been killed since February 1 when the military seized control and removed Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Witnesses told Reuters that security forces used real bullets with little warning in several towns and cities. “It’s horrific, it’s a massacre. No words can describe the situation and our feelings,” youth activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told the news agency.
A spokesman for the military rulers did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
“The country is like Tiananmen Square in most of its major cities,” the Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter. He was referring to the violent suppression of student-led protests in China in 1989. Myanmar is a majority Buddhist country with a small Christian community.
Security forces in Yangon, the country’s main city, detained about 300 protesters, the Myanmar Now news agency reported. Video posted on social media showed lines of young men with their hands on their heads. It shows them getting into army trucks as police and soldiers stand guard.
One video taken from a security camera showed police beating members of an ambulance crew. Police can be seen kicking the three crew members and hitting them with their guns.
In the central town of Myingyan, social media reported the shooting death of a 14-year-old boy. In Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, police and soldiers chased around 1,000 teachers and students with tear gas as gun shots could be heard.
The violence came a day after foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) urged restraint. Myanmar is an ASEAN member. The Southeast Asian neighbors, however, did not unite behind a call for the release of Suu Kyi and a return to democracy.
The U.N. Security Council is expected to meet on the situation this Friday. Britain reportedly requested the meeting but two permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto any action.
The Myanmar military claimed that its action came after reports of fraud in the November 8 election were ignored. Suu Kyi’s party had won a large majority and the election commission said the vote was fair.
I’m Jonathan Evans.
Hai Do wrote this report with material from Reuters and the Associated Press. Mario Ritter Jr. was the editor.
Words in This Story
restraint –n.(formal) a way of limiting, controlling or not taking action
massacre –n. the violent killing of many people
ambulance –n. a vehicle used for taking hurt or sick peole to the hospital especially for emergencies
fraud –n. the crime of using dishonest methods to take something valuable from another person
We want to hear from you. Write to us in the Comments section, and visit our Facebook page.