Myanmar security forces shoot dead more than 60 protestors including young boy on 'day of shame'


Myanmar’s security forces shot and killed at least 64 protestors, including a young boy, on ‘day of shame’ in some of the bloodiest scenes yet since the military coup. 

Protesters against the February 1 military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, defying a warning that they could be shot ‘in the head and back’, while the country’s generals celebrated Armed Forces Day.

‘Today is a day of shame for the armed forces,’ Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group set up by deposed lawmakers, told an online forum.

A wounded protester is seen after security forces intervene in protesters during a protest against military coup and detention of elected government members in Mandalay, Myanmar

A wounded protester is seen after security forces intervene in protesters during a protest against military coup and detention of elected government members in Mandalay, Myanmar

More than 60 protestors are believed to have been killed by Myanmar security forces today. Pictured: Anti-coup protesters extinguish fires during a protest in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar

More than 60 protestors are believed to have been killed by Myanmar security forces today. Pictured: Anti-coup protesters extinguish fires during a protest in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar

Protesters against the February 1 military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, defying a warning that they could be shot 'in the head and back'. Pictured: aAman displaying spent cartridges as security forces opened fire during a demonstration

Protesters against the February 1 military coup came out on the streets of Yangon, Mandalay and other towns, defying a warning that they could be shot ‘in the head and back’. Pictured: aAman displaying spent cartridges as security forces opened fire during a demonstration

The latest violence against the protestors has been branded a 'day of shame' Pictured: Protesters carry an injured man to safety in Kawthoung, Myanmar

Smoke rises from what appears to be a burning vehicle during the protest against military coup

The latest violence against the protestors has been branded a ‘day of shame’ Pictured: Protesters carry an injured man to safety in Kawthoung, Myanmar, (left) and smoke rises from what appears to be a burning vehicle during the protest against military coup

The deaths on Saturday, one of the bloodiest days since the coup, takes the number of civilians reported killed to nearly 400. Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in parts of Myanmar today.

A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 13 people killed in Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay.

 The Myanmar Now news portal said 64 people had been killed in total across the country by 2.30pm local time.

Three people, including a man who plays in a local under-21 football team, were killed in a protest in the Insein district of Myanmar’s biggest city Yangon, a neighbour said.

‘They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,’ said Thu Ya Zaw in the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were killed. ‘We will keep protesting regardless… We must fight until the junta falls.’

Deaths were reported from the central Sagaing region, Lashio in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere. A one year-old baby was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet.

Meanwhile, one of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people – including a lieutenant colonel – and losing one of its own fighters.

Myanmar’s ethnic armed factions will not stand by and allow more killings, the leader of one of the main armed groups said on Saturday.

Family members were seen crying in front of a man after he was shot dead during an anti-coup protesters crackdown in Yangon, Myanmar

Family members were seen crying in front of a man after he was shot dead during an anti-coup protesters crackdown in Yangon, Myanmar

The deaths on Saturday, one of the bloodiest days since the coup, takes the number of civilians reported killed to nearly 400. Pictured: A protester shows a bullet during a protest against military coup

The deaths on Saturday, one of the bloodiest days since the coup, takes the number of civilians reported killed to nearly 400. Pictured: A protester shows a bullet during a protest against military coup

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in parts of Myanmar today. Pictured: Wounded hand of a protester is seen after security forces intervene in protesters during a protest in Mandalay

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in parts of Myanmar today. Pictured: Wounded hand of a protester is seen after security forces intervene in protesters during a protest in Mandalay

One of Myanmar's two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people. Pictured: Bullet holes are seen on the window at American Center Yangon (ACY) in Yangon, Myanmar

One of Myanmar’s two dozen ethnic armed groups, the Karen National Union, said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people. Pictured: Bullet holes are seen on the window at American Center Yangon (ACY) in Yangon, Myanmar

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces. Pictured: Protesters holding homemade shields during a demonstration against the military coup in Dawei

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces. Pictured: Protesters holding homemade shields during a demonstration against the military coup in Dawei

A security officer was seen appearing to kick a man who was lying on the street in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar, today

A security officer was seen appearing to kick a man who was lying on the street in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar, today

A security officer was seen appearing to kick a man who was lying on the street in Sanchaung, Yangon, Myanmar, today

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces or the insurgent attack on its post.

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 after overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 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.’ 

In a warning on Friday evening, state television said protesters were ‘in danger of getting shot to the head and back’. 

To take on the police, a group of protestors in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, made makeshift bow and arrows

To take on the police, a group of protestors in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, made makeshift bow and arrows

As well as wearing protective gear, the protestors in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, armed themselves with makeshift airguns to confront police

As well as wearing protective gear, the protestors in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar, armed themselves with makeshift airguns to confront police

Anti-coup protesters prepare with makeshift airgun during police crackdown at Thaketa township in Yangon, Myanmar

Anti-coup protesters prepare with makeshift airgun during police crackdown at Thaketa township in Yangon, Myanmar

Large groups of protestors, wearing face masks, hard hats and some wearing protective goggles, took to the streets in Mandalay, Myanmar

Large groups of protestors, wearing face masks, hard hats and some wearing protective goggles, took to the streets in Mandalay, Myanmar

The warning did not specifically say security forces had been given shoot-to-kill orders and the junta has previously suggested some fatal shootings have come from within the crowds.

But it showed the military’s determination to prevent any disruptions around Armed Forces Day, which commemorates the start of the resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945 that was orchestrated by Suu Kyi’s father, the founder of the military.

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 U.S. and European sanctions, Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended the parade in Naypyitaw, having met 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.

Support from Russia and China, which has also refrained from criticism, is important for the junta as they are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and can block potential U.N. actions.

Several protestors at the march in Mandalay, Myanmar, were also seen wearing protective vests and other head gear

Several protestors at the march in Mandalay, Myanmar, were also seen wearing protective vests and other head gear

The leader of one of the main armed groups said Myanmar's ethnic armed factions will not stand by and allow more killings. Pictured: Buddhist monks sit during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay

The leader of one of the main armed groups said Myanmar’s ethnic armed factions will not stand by and allow more killings. Pictured: Buddhist monks sit during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay

The body of 18-year-old Hein Thant, who was shot in the head, is carried away during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar

The body of 18-year-old Hein Thant, who was shot in the head, is carried away during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar

Family members crying over the body of policeman Chit Lin Thu, who had joined the protests against the military coup

Family members crying over the body of policeman Chit Lin Thu, who had joined the protests against the military coup

Chit Lin Thu was shot dead by security forces during a demonstration in Yangon's Insein township

Chit Lin Thu was shot dead by security forces during a demonstration in Yangon’s Insein township

Gunshots hit the U.S. cultural centre in Yangon on Saturday, but nobody was hurt and the incident was being investigated, U.S. embassy spokesperson Aryani Manring said. The United States has led criticism of the killings of protesters.

Protesters have taken to the streets almost daily since the coup that derailed Myanmar’s slow transition to democracy, despite the mounting toll.

‘The Myanmar Armed Forces Day isn’t an armed forces day, it’s more like the day they killed people,’ General Yawd Serk, chair of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army – South, told Reuters in neighbouring Thailand.

‘If they continue to shoot at protesters and bully the people, I think all the ethnic groups would not just stand by and do nothing.’

Author and historian Thant Myint-U wrote on Twitter: ‘A failed state in Myanmar has the potential to draw in all the big powers – including the US, China, India, Russia, and Japan – in a way that could lead to a serious international crisis (as well as an even greater catastrophe in Myanmar itself)’.

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