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(MYANMAR) FEATURED: Police opened fired on protesters during the bloodiest day in weeks of demonstrations against the recent military coup in the nation,on Sunday ahead of a court appearance by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.03: At least 18 people were killed and several injured on Sunday, the UN human rights office said:

‘Australia condemns violence as at least 18 Myanmar protesters shot dead in police crackdown’

Throughout the day, in several locations throughout the country, police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that — according to credible information received by the UN human rights office — has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded,” the office said as Ms Suu Kyi was expected to appeared in court via video link on Monday (local time) facing charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios.

Posted Yesterday at 6:35am, updated Yesterday at 11:27pm

Play Video. Duration: 44 seconds
18 deaths in Myanmar as police open fire at protestors

Myanmar has been in chaos since the Army seized power and detained elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership on February 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.

Armed soldiers in fatigues and face masks walk along a street with rifles pointed at the ground.
Soldiers joined police officers working to supress the demonstrations.(Reuters)

Her lawyer said police had filed a second charge of violating a Natural Disaster Management Law.

Australia’s Embassy in Myanmar said it was “deeply concerned by the recent loss of lives in Myanmar and extend our condolences to the bereaved families”.

“The escalating violence against peaceful protestors is unacceptable.

“We strongly urge Myanmar security forces to refrain from using lethal force against civilians,” it said in a post on Facebook.

An injured young man lying on the ground is given oxygen as he's surrounded by medical staff.
One person was killed and “more than a dozen” were injured in the southern town of Dawei.(Reuters)

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called “abhorrent violence” by Myanmar security forces in the latest deadly crackdown against protesters there.

“We stand firmly with the courageous people of Burma and encourage all countries to speak with one voice in support of their will,” Mr Blinken said.

Indonesia — which has taken the lead within the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in efforts to resolve the turmoil in Myanmar — said it was “deeply concerned” over the violence and urged restraint.

A woman of Asian descent is shown in a close up head shot
Ms Suu Kyi won Myanmar’s November election in a landslide.(AP: Peter DeJong/File)

‘Myanmar is like a battlefield’

The coup, which has brought to a halt the country’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, has drawn hundreds of thousands of protesters onto the streets.

“Myanmar is like a battlefield,” the Buddhist-majority nation’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter.

Play Video. Duration: 27 seconds
At least 18 people are dead following the bloodiest day of Myanmar’s military crackdown.

Police reinforced by soldiers were out early on Sunday, opening fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds.

Several injured people were hauled away by fellow protesters, leaving bloody smears on pavements, media images showed.

One man died after being brought to a hospital with a bullet in the chest, said a doctor who asked not to be identified.

A woman died of a suspected heart attack after police swooped to break up a Yangon teachers’ protest with stun grenades, her daughter and a colleague said.

A young man in blue denim shirt raises handcuffed hands above his head as police escort him on road.
The weekend has seen Myanmar police crack down on pro-democracy protesters.(Reuters)

Police also hurled stun grenades outside a Yangon medical school, sending doctors and students in white lab coats scattering.

A group called the Whitecoat Alliance of medics said more than 50 medical staff had been arrested.

The independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners reported it was aware that about 1,000 people were detained Sunday, of whom they were able to identify 270.

That brought to 1,132 the total number of people the group has confirmed being arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup.

Human Rights Watch slams ‘unacceptable’ violence

Junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing said last week authorities were using minimal force to deal with the protests.

Nevertheless, at least 21 protesters have now died in the turmoil. The Army said a policeman had been killed.

A large group of protesters wear masks depicting Aung San Suu Kyi, as they flash three-finger salutes.
Protesters in Yangon flash the three-finger salutes to protest against the military coup.(Reuters)

State run MRTV television said more than 470 people had been arrested on Saturday when police launched the nationwide crackdown.

It was not clear how many were detained on Sunday.

Human Rights Watch has criticised the violence, calling it “unacceptable”.

“The Myanmar security forces’ clear escalation in use of lethal force in multiple towns and cities … is outrageous and unacceptable,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director of Human Rights Watch, said.

Youth activist Esther Ze Naw said people were battling to overcome the fear of the military they had lived with for so long.

“This fear will only grow if we keep living with it and the people who are creating the fear know that,” she said.

“It’s obvious they’re trying to instil fear in us by making us run and hide … we can’t accept that.”

A man in a gas mask wearing Asian sarong runs on street in haze on tear gas within a chaotic crowd.
Police in Yangon fired tear gas to break up a crowd of protesters.(Reuters)

Fired ambassador remains defiant

The police action came after state television announced Myanmar’s UN envoy had been fired for betraying the country by urging the United Nations to use “any means necessary” to reverse the coup.

The ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, remained defiant.

“I decided to fight back as long as I can,” he said in New York.

Play Video. Duration: 26 seconds
Myanmar’s UN envoy asks the international community to use ‘any means necessary’ to stop the military coup.

While Western countries have condemned the coup and some have imposed limited sanctions, Myanmar’s military generals have traditionally shrugged off diplomatic pressure.

They have promised to hold a new election but not set a date.

Ms Suu Kyi’s party and its supporters said the result of the November vote must be respected.

Ms Suu Kyi, 75, who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest, faces charges of illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and of violating a natural disaster law by breaching coronavirus protocols.

The next hearing in her case has been scheduled for Monday.

Myanmar protesters hold red posters with Aung San Suu Kyi's face on them.
Deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi retains strong support across Myanmar.(Reuters: Supplied)

Myanmar junta sacks UN envoy who called for his compatriots to keep fighting and win as crackdowns continue

Posted 2d ago, updated 2d ago

Play Video. Duration: 26 seconds
Myanmar’s UN envoy asks the international community to use ‘any means necessary’ to stop the military coup.

Myanmar’s junta has fired its United Nations ambassador for breaking ranks to denounce the military’s ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as police stepped up a crackdown on protesters across the country.

The country has been shaken by a wave of demonstrations since a coup toppled civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.

Authorities have ramped up the use of force to suppress dissent, deploying tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets to disperse some protests. Live rounds have been used in isolated cases.

In justifying its seizure of power, the military has alleged widespread fraud in the November elections, which Ms Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide, and promised fresh polls in a year.

But its ambassador to the United Nations on Friday broke ranks and made an emotional appeal to the international community for “the strongest possible action … to restore democracy”.

Kyaw Moe Tun also pleaded with his “brothers and sisters” in Burmese to keep fighting.

“This revolution must win,” he said, flashing the three-finger salute that has become a symbol of resistance against the junta.

By Saturday night, state-run TV announced Kyaw Moe Tun was no longer Myanmar’s UN ambassador.

“[He] didn’t follow the order and direction by the state and betrayed the country,” according to an MRTV broadcast.

“That is why he is revoked from his position starting from today.”Loading

‘We want to fight until we win’

News of Kyaw Moe Tun’s removal follows a day of crackdowns and mass arrests by Myanmar’s security forces as the country enters its fourth week of daily protests against the generals’ grip on power.

Chaos unfolded across commercial hub Yangon, with police closing in early on peaceful demonstrators and deploying rubber bullets to disperse them from Myaynigone junction.

Protesters scattered into residential streets and started building makeshift barricades out of stacked tables and trash cans to stop the police. 

Many wore hard hats and gas masks, wielding homemade shields for protection.

“What are the police doing? They are protecting a crazy dictator,” the protesters chanted angrily.

Soldiers and police clash with protesters on a road, where two people are lying down seemingly trying to protect their heads.
Authorities are cracking down on demonstrations against the military coup.(AFP)

Local reporters broadcast the chaotic scenes live on Facebook, including the moments when the shots rang out.

“We want to fight until we win,” said protester Moe Moe, 23, who used a pseudonym.

At nearby Hledan junction, several rounds of stun grenades were fired, according to AFP reporters.

At least three media workers were detained, including an Associated Press photographer, a video journalist from Myanmar Now, and a photographer from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency.

Another protest near a shopping centre in nearby Tamwe Township was broken up by police.

Aye Myint Kyi, a distraught mother of one shopper, said she reached her daughter briefly on the phone, who said she was being taken.

“I don’t know where she was taken,” she said while crying.

“She was unjustly arrested.”

About 700 people still detained 

Armed police stand in a line across a main road blocking access while people walk and ride scooters past.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said about 400 people had been arrested on Saturday.(AP)

In the central city of Monywa, a rally had barely started before police and soldiers moved in on demonstrators, said a medic with a local emergency rescue team. 

Htwe Aung Zin said his team had been “sent a man who was severely injured in his leg from the police crackdown”, adding that they treated 10 others with minor injuries. 

He declined to say what kind of bullets caused the man’s injury.

Another medic said a woman with severe injuries had been sent to the intensive care unit.

Meanwhile, two local media outlets saw their journalists arrested as they attempted to broadcast live video of protests on Facebook. 

More than 770 people have been arrested, charged and sentenced since the military coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, with some 680 still behind bars.

But Saturday is expected to push the number up, said AAPP’s Bo Gyi. 

“More than 400 were arrested [today],” he said, adding that only a fraction will make it into the group’s daily updated list as they were not able to confirm the names of everyone.

ABC/Wires/AFP/

#AceNewsDesk report ………Published: Mar.03: 2021:

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