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(MYANMAR) Military Coup Report: At least 3-people believed killed on Sunday that followed at least another 7-killed on Saturday but these figures maybe higher with at least 80-killed and more than 2,000 arrested since protests began #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.15: At least three people were reported to have been killed by police gunfire in Hlaing Thar Yar Township in the commercial hub of Yangon, and several others there are said to be suffering from life-threatening injuries. One other person was killed in the northern city of Hpakant and another in Mandalay

Australia, US, India and Japan vow to restore Myanmar democracy as protesters shift tactic: Myanmar activist: ‘Security forces again fired at people demonstrating against the February 1 military putschon Sunday, with the death toll from six weeks of protests expected to rise dramatically following the weekend’s events’

This comes after at least seven demonstrators were reportedly killed at protests in various locations on Saturday, including four in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city. Some estimates put the number of dead at 13.

The overall death toll since the start of the protests is believed to be about 80, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group, which also says that more than 2,100 people have been arrested.

Protesters have begun holding nighttime rallies as well in defiance of an 8 p.m. curfew.

Protesters holding up cell phones with LED lights on in Yangon

One night rally on Saturday was held in Yangon

Defiant message

As the demonstrations continue, Myanmar’s shadow government has urged people to keep protesting against what it called the military’s “unjust dictatorship” in a recorded video message on Facebook.

“This is the darkest moment of the nation and the light before the dawn is close,” said Mahn Win Khaing Than, a high-ranking politician from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Mahn Win Khaing Than is the acting vice president of the CRPH group of elected parliamentarians who have largely gone into hiding after the NLD was ousted from power in the putsch.

Mahn Win Khaing Than speaking in Naypyitaw

Mahn Win Khaing Than was placed under house arrest during the February coup, activists say

“This uprising is also the chance for all of us to struggle together hand in hand to establish a federal democratic union which we — all ethnic brothers and sisters who have been suffering various kinds of oppression from military dictatorship — have long desired,” the 68-year-old said, adding: “We must win the uprising.”

Electoral fraud accusations

Andrew Nachemson, a journalist covering the protests in Yangon, told DW that the “majority of people in Myanmar see this group of civilian leaders as the legitimate government.”

“They have the ability to influence the protest movement and to inspire the protesters,” he added.

The junta has justified its coup with allegations of widespread fraud in November elections that saw the NLD party win a landslide victory. It has called the formation of the CRPH “high treason,” a crime that carries the maximum sentence of 22 years in jail.

CRPH stands for “Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw” — the Burmese word for the country’s governing bloc.

tj/mm (AP, AFP, dpa)

Posted Yesterday at 7:58pm, updated Yesterday at 8:50pm

A huge group of sitting protesters, many wearing face masks, raise candles in their hands.
Unofficial tallies say about 90 people have been killed since the coup started.(AP)

Myanmar security forces have killed at least 12 people, witnesses and media say, as the acting leader of a civilian parallel government vows in a first public address to pursue a “revolution” to overturn the February 1 military coup. 

Witnesses and domestic media Myanmar Now and BBC Burmese said at a dozen protesters were killed in one of the bloodiest days since the coup in which Myanmar’s army seized power and detained most of the civilian leadership, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

Junta-run media MRTV’s evening news broadcast labelled the protesters as “criminals” but did not elaborate.

The leaders of the United States, India, Australia and Japan, meanwhile, declared they would work together to restore democracy in Myanmar following a meeting of the so-called Quad alliance.

“As longstanding supporters of Myanmar and its people, we emphasise the urgent need to restore democracy and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience,” the four leaders said in a statement released by the White House.

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India’s Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told a news conference in India’s capital New Delhi: “The leaders felt given the strong democratic credentials of each of the four members, it was important to work towards the restoration of democracy in the country.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi “attaches great value to democracy, peace and stability” in neighbouring Myanmar, he added.

The independent UN human rights expert for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said on Thursday that “credible reports” indicated security forces in the South-East Asian nation had killed at least 70 people since the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Riot police officers hold down a protester
Foreign observers have balked at the military’s claims it is acting with restraint.(AP)

Other unofficial but carefully compiled tallies put the total number of deaths since the coup at about 90.

Mr Andrews dismissed as “absurd” comments by a senior Myanmar official that authorities were exercising “utmost restraint”.

He has called for a united approach to “strip away the junta’s sense of impunity”.

Former colonial power Britain on Friday warned its citizens in Myanmar to leave, saying “political tension and unrest are widespread since the military takeover and levels of violence are rising”.

Vice-president of civilian government vows resistance

Mahn Win Khaing Than, who is in hiding along with most senior officials from the ruling National League for Democracy Party, addressed the public via Facebook, saying: “This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close.”

A man stands in traditional Myanmar attire
Mahn Win Khaing Than’s civilian government has declared the Myanmar military a terrorist organisation.(Reuters: Soe Zeya Tun)

He was appointed acting vice-president by representatives of Myanmar’s ousted politicians, the Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), which is pushing for recognition as the rightful government.

It has announced its intention to create a federal democracy and leaders have been meeting representatives of Myanmar’s largest ethnic armed organisations, which already control vast swathes of territory across the country. Some have pledged their support.

The CRPH has declared the junta a “terrorist organisation”.

A civil disobedience movement that started with government employees such as doctors and teachers has expanded into a general strike that has paralysed many sectors of the economy and taken a large portion of the workings of government out of the military’s hands. 

Police fire into the air as rallies continue

A large crowd of protesters sit under umbrellas and hold signs picturing Aung San Suu Kyi.
Protesters in Yangon stayed on the streets past the 8:00pm curfew.(AP)

Saturday’s killings did not faze demonstrators in Yangon who crowded a downtown commercial area past the official 8:00pm curfew to hold a mass candlelight vigil and to sing about their cause.

The mostly young protesters rallied at an intersection where they usually gather for daytime protests.

Night rallies were also held in Mandalay and elsewhere.

Police had been aggressively patrolling residential neighbourhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades in an effort at intimidation.

They have also been carrying out targeted raids, taking people from their homes with minimal resistance.

People light candles on the street during a candlelit vigil in Yangon
People light candles on the street during a candlelit vigil in Yangon.(AP)

In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being taken away.

Another possible indication of heightened resistance emerged on Saturday with photos posted online of a railway bridge said to have been damaged by an explosive charge.

The prospect of sabotage has been openly discussed by some protesters, who warn that they could blow up a pipeline supplying natural gas to China.

They see China as being the junta’s main supporter, even though Beijing has been mildly critical of the coup in its public comments.

US offers temporary residency for 18 months

Protesters wearing gas masks use makeshift shields with "people" written on the front to form a defensive line.
Protesters have taken to using makeshift shields while security forces continue killing people by shooting live ammunition at demonstrators.(AP)

In Washington on Friday, the Biden administration announced it is offering temporary legal residency to people from Myanmar, citing the military’s takeover and ongoing deadly force against civilians.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the designation of temporary protected status for people from Myanmar would last for 18 months.

The offer of temporary legal residency applies to people already in the United States.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions.

Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party led a return to civilian rule with a landslide election victory in 2015, and an even greater margin of votes last year.

It would have been installed for a second five-year term last month, but instead Ms Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and other members of the government were placed in military detention.

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ABC/wires

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Mar.15: 2021:

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