At least 50 protesters killed in Myanmar even as generals celebrate Armed Forces Day

WION Web Team
Yangon, Myanmar Published: Mar 27, 2021, 01:12 PM(IST)

Protests in Myanmar Photograph:( Reuters )

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Protesters against the February 1 military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns on Saturday -- when the country's generals were celebrating Armed Forces Day.

Myanmar's security forces shot and killed at least 50 protesters on Saturday even as the leader of the ruling junta assured the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

Protesters against the February 1 military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns on Saturday -- when the country's generals were celebrating Armed Forces Day.

The nation has been in turmoil since the generals ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February, triggering a major uprising demanding a return to democracy.

At least four people were killed when security forces opened fire at a crowd protesting outside a police station in Yangon`s Dala suburb in the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar Now reported. At least 10 people were wounded, the news portal said.

Three people, including a young man who plays in a local under-21 football team, were shot and killed in a protest in the Insein district of the city, a neighbour told Reuters.

Thirteen people were killed in various incidents in Mandalay, Myanmar Now said. Deaths were also reported from the Sagaing region near Mandalay, Lashio town in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere, it said.

Myanmar Now said a total of at least 50 people were killed on Saturday. Reuters could not independently verify the numbers killed.

Also read | Myanmar's junta says will 'strive for democracy' after protesters call for show of defiance

Earlier, after presiding over a military parade in the capital Naypyitaw to mark Armed Forces Day, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing reiterated a promise to hold elections, without giving any time-frame.

"The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy," the general said in a live broadcast on state television, adding that authorities also sought to protect the people and restore peace across the country.

"Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate."

The latest deaths will add to a toll of 328 people killed in the crackdown that has followed the coup against Suu Kyi's elected government.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar's most popular civilian politician, remains in detention at an undisclosed location. Many other figures in her party are also being held in custody.

In a week that saw international pressure on the junta ramped up with new US and European sanctions, Russia's deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended the parade in Naypyitaw, having meet senior junta leaders a day earlier.

"Russia is a true friend," Min Aung Hlaing said. There were no signs of other diplomats at an event that is usually attended by scores of officials from foreign nations.

Protesters have taken to the streets almost daily since the coup that derailed Myanmar's slow transition to democracy.

(with inputs)

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