Yangon enacts martial law. At least 39 killed
Chinese factories set on fire in Hlaing Tharyar. Protesters accuse China of supporting the military with anti-guerrilla weapons and advisers, and of protecting them from UN criticism. A 15-year-old girl among seriously injured. Since February 1, security forces have killed 126 people and taken 2,150 prisoners. The parallel government's call for a "revolution" and federal democracy.
Yangon (AsiaNews) - Democracy demonstrations continued fearlessly today throughout the nation despite yesterday's bloody toll in which security forces killed at least 39 people, causing several hundred injuries, including serious ones.
Many killings took place in Yangon, in the Hlaing Tharyar district, where some Chinese factories and shopping centres were set on fire. Protesters accuse China of supporting the military with anti-guerrilla weapons and advisers, and of protecting them from UN criticism.
The Chinese embassy immediately asked the "Myanmar authorities to impose effective measures to end all acts of violence". Almost in response to the Chinese appeal, the junta decreed "full martial law" in Hlaing Tharyar and other districts of Yangon, as well as in Mandalay. Despite martial law, thousands of people gathered in Hlaing Tharyar today (see photo 1).
An estimated 18 people died in Yangon; another 30 in nearby towns: Hlaing Tharyar, Thingangyun, Shwepyithar, South Dagon. The pro-democracy militants and the media try to draw up a balance sheet: 4 people killed in Twante; one killed in Hparant. A 15-year-old girl, Zuu Wint Wah, was shot in South Dagon and is now hospitalized in critical condition. Zuu was arrested in early March for participating in the protests and released a week ago.
According to the Association for Aid to Political Prisoners, security forces have killed 126 people and taken 2,150 prisoners since the February 1 coup. Of these, only 300 have been released so far.
The junta justifies the coup because of the alleged fraud in the elections last November in which the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi's party won 75% of the seats. The Electoral Committee admitted minor irregularities, but not enough to change the voting results.
Two days ago, the interim head of a civilian government parallel to that of the junta, issued a message in asking the population to join in the "revolution" and take power away from the military.
Mahn Win Khaing Than (photo 4) - who lives in hiding, like most members of the National League for Democracy and deposed parliamentarians – posted his message on Facebook.
The Chrp (Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw), the group led by Mahn Win Khaing Than, was formed on February 5 and proposes a federal democracy. The junta declared the CHRP an "illegal and terrorist" group.