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’18 dead’ as security operatives crack down on protesters in Myanmar

’18 dead’ as security operatives crack down on protesters in Myanmar
February 28
16:22 2021

The United Nations human rights office says 18 persons have reportedly died after security operatives opened fire on anti-coup protesters in Myanmar.

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Police and military officers were said to have clamped down on protesters on Sunday, after weeks of peaceful demonstrations.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de-facto leader, and other senior government officials, were detained following a coup on February 1.

In a statement on Sunday, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson of the UN human rights office, said multiple deaths have been reported in several cities, including Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago, and Pokokku.

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The UN said at least 18 people have been reported dead and over 30 wounded, as police used live rounds and tear gas against peaceful protesters.

“We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protestors,” the statement reads.

“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.

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“Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku. Tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades.”

The UN said at least 85 medical professionals and students, as well as seven journalists, who were present at the demonstrations, have been detained by the security operatives.

The global organisation noted that Myanmar citizens have the right to protest peacefully, and called on the security operatives to release the detained persons.

It also urged the international community to stand in solidarity with the country, for the return of Myanmar’s democracy.

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“The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression,” it reads.

“Use of lethal force against non-violent demonstrators is never justifiable under international human rights norms.

“Since the beginning of the coup d’état in Myanmar on 1 February, the police and security forces have targeted an ever-increasing number of opposition voices and demonstrators by arresting political officials, activists, civil society members, journalists, and medical professionals.

“Today alone, police have detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, as well as seven journalists, who were present at the demonstrations. Over 1,000 individuals have been arbitrarily arrested and detained in the last month – some of whom remain unaccounted for – mostly without any form of due process, simply for exercising their human rights to freedom of opinion, expression and peaceful assembly.

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“We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, including members of the democratically elected government. The international community must stand in solidarity with the protestors and all those seeking a return to democracy in Myanmar.”

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