Myanmar Junta Extends Martial Law in Yangon After Dozens of Anti-Coup Protesters Killed

 Myanmar Junta Extends Martial Law in Yangon After Dozens of Anti-Coup Protesters Killed

Authorities in Myanmar extended martial law in more areas of the main city of Yangon Monday amid reports of more killings of protesters at the hands of security forces.

State-run MRTV news channel announced that the districts of North Dagon, South Dagon, Dagon Seikkan and North Okkalapa are under martial law, a day after security forces killed at least 40 people across Myanmar. Most of the killings took place in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingthaya, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations against the junta that seized power in a February 1 coup.Authorities imposed martial law on Hlaingthaya, a suburb of Myanmar’s main city, after several Chinese-owned factories were set on fire and about 2,000 people had stopped fire engines from reaching them, according to Reuters quoting army-run Myawaddy television. China is seen as supportive of the Myanmar junta.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian responded to Sunday’s attack on the factories during a regular news briefing Monday, “The burning and looting of Chinese companies is abhorrent. We hope the Myanmar side will take concrete measures to protect the safety of Chinese citizens in Myanmar.”

The spokesman also said, “The top priority is to prevent the occurrence of new bloody conflicts and to achieve an easing of the situation as soon as possible.”

Various reports quoting the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said more than 30 people were killed Sunday in Hlaingthaya, up from the initial 22 fatalities reported by the group.

Sixteen more protesters were killed in other cities and townships, the AAPP said, as well as one police officer. [[ https://aappb.org/?p=13671 ]] The previous deadliest day was March 3, when 38 deaths were reported across Myanmar.

Two people were killed in protests in Myingyan, while three people were killed there and two in Aunglan town, according to Reuters which quoted the Myanmar Now media outlet.

On Monday the AAPP was quoted as saying the nationwide death toll for Sunday had reached 44.

As the violence continued to rage across Myanmar Monday, a scheduled court hearing in the capital Napyitaw for deposed de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi via videoconference was postponed because internet service had been blocked, according to her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw.

Suu Kyi has been detained since the February 1 coup and is facing five criminal charges, including accepting $600,000 in illegal payments plus gold bars while in office. She is also charged with illegally possessing six unregistered walkie-talkie radios, operating communications equipment without a license, violating COVID-19 protocols by holding public gatherings and attempting to incite public unrest.

The AAAP says security forces have killed at least 126 people in the seven weeks since the coup, not including the latest fatality reports since Sunday, and detained more than 2,150 as of Saturday, with more than 300 released so far.

Christine Schraner Burgener, the U.N. special envoy of the secretary-general on Myanmar, Sunday strongly condemned the continuing bloodshed.

“The international community, including regional actors, must come together in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations,” Burgener said in a statement.

Ayomide Oyewole

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