At least 21 protesters have been killed in clashes in Myanmar’s main city Yangon as politicians removed from power by the military coup called for “revolution”.
Since the military coup on 1 February and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s civilian leader and head of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party, Myanmar has been gripped by protests
The NLD party won in last year’s election but the military alleged there had been widespread fraud and used that as excuse for the coup.
However, on Sunday, March 14, the protests took another turn as security forces opened fire in the Yangon area of the country while protesters used sticks and knives to defend themselves.
The military declared curfew in that area of the country after Chinese businesses were attacked as the protesters believe China is giving support to Myanmar’s military.
But the protesters defied the curfew leading to attacks from the military.
Some of the politicians removed by the Military after the coup have refused to accept the coup but have gone into hiding for fear of arrest.
In his first public address, Political leader Mahn Win Khaing Than called for a revolution, urging protesters to defend themselves against the military crackdown.
“This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close,” he said.
In a seperate speech on Facebook, Mahn Win Khaing Than said: “This is the time for our citizens to test their resistance against the dark moments.
“In order to form a federal democracy, which all ethnic brothers who have been suffering various kinds of oppressions from the dictatorship for decades really desired, this revolution is the chance for us to put our efforts together.
“Despite our differences in the past, this is the time we must grip our hands together to end the dictatorship for good. “
In addition to those killed in Yangon on Sunday, further deaths and injuries were reported elsewhere in the country.
In total, more than 120 protesters have reportedly been killed during the crackdown, according to the AAPP monitoring group.
The military attacks on protesters started after China said Chinese factories in the area had been targeted.
China said people armed with iron bars, axes and petrol had set alight and damaged 10 Chinese facilities – mostly clothing production or storage factories – in Yangon.
China also said a Chinese hotel was also attacked.
On its Facebook page the Chinese embassy said some “factories were looted and destroyed and many Chinese staff were injured and trapped”.
The embassy urged Myanmar to “take further effective measures to stop all acts of violence, punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel in Myanmar”.
The US has already placed sanctions on the top brass of the Myanmar military and plan to freeze $1b worth of the country’s military funds in the US.
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