Myanmar protesters, undaunted by killings, march again

AP – Demonstrators in Myanmar protesting last month’s coup returned to the streets yesterday, undaunted by the killing of at least 38 people the previous day by security forces.

New protests were held in at least three areas of Yangon, the country’s largest city, that have been scenes of violence for the past few days. Police again used force to try to disperse the crowds, according to accounts.

Protests also continued in Mandalay, the second-biggest city. A formation of five fighter planes flew over the city yesterday morning in what appeared to be a threatening show of force.

The United Nations (UN) Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said 38 people were killed on Wednesday, a figure consistent with other reports.

Protesters wearing protective gear gather on a road during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon. PHOTO: AFP

The death toll was the highest since the February 1 takeover, when the military ousted the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi. More than 50 civilians, mostly peaceful protesters, are confirmed to have been killed by police and soldiers since then.

The UN Security Council has scheduled closed-door consultations today on calls to reverse the coup — including from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres — and stop the escalating military crackdown.

Any kind of coordinated action at the UN will be difficult since two permanent members of the Security Council, China and Russia, are likely to veto it. Some countries have already imposed or are considering their own sanctions.

UN envoy Schraner Burgener said she warned Myanmar’s army that the world’s nations and the Security Council “might take huge strong measures”.