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Five killed in Myanmar protests as junta cracks down on online critics

Myanmar safety forces opened hearth on pro-democracy protests on Saturday killing 5 folks, a protester and media stated, as the army bolstered its bid to finish dissent with arrest warrants for online critics and web blocks.

Despite the killing of greater than 550 folks by the safety forces for the reason that Feb. 1 coup, protesters are popping out day by day, usually in smaller teams in smaller cities, to voice opposition to the reimposition of army rule.

Security forces in the central city of Monywa fired on a crowd killing thee folks, the Myanmar Now news service stated, whereas one man was shot and killed in one other central city, Bago, and one in Thaton to the south, the Bago Weekly Journal online news portal reported.

“They started firing non-stop with both stun grenade and live rounds,” the protester in Monywa, who requested to not be named, advised Reuters by way of a messaging app. “People backed off and quickly put up … barriers, but a bullet hit a person in front of me in the head. He died on the spot.”

Police and a spokesman for the junta didn’t reply phone calls looking for remark.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group stated earlier on Saturday the safety forces had killed 550 folks, 46 of them youngsters, for the reason that army overthrew an elected authorities led by Aung San Suu Kyi.

The demonstrations that drew tens of hundreds of individuals in the early days of defiance in huge cities have largely stopped with opponents of the coup adopting “guerrilla rallies” – small, fast reveals of defiance earlier than safety forces can reply.

People additionally collect at evening for candle-lit vigils.

The authorities are waging a marketing campaign to manage data. They had shut down cellular knowledge and on Friday ordered web suppliers to chop wi-fi broadband, depriving most clients of entry, although some messages and photos have been nonetheless being posted and shared on social media.

Authorities issued warrants for 18 celebrities, together with social media influencers and two journalists, beneath a regulation in opposition to materials supposed to trigger a member of the armed forces to mutiny or disregard their obligation, state media reported late on Friday.

All of them are identified to oppose army rule. The cost can carry a jail time period of three years.

Actress Paing Phyoe Thu stated she wouldn’t be cowed.

“Whether a warrant has been issued or not, as long as I’m alive I’ll oppose the military dictatorship who are bullying and killing people. The revolution must prevail,” she stated on Facebook.

Paing Phyoe Thu repeatedly attended rallies in the principle metropolis of Yangon in the weeks after the coup. Her whereabouts weren’t instantly identified.

SILENCING THE VOICES?

State broadcaster MRTV introduced the warrants for the 18 with screenshots and hyperlinks to their Facebook profiles.

While the army has banned platforms like Facebook, it has continued to make use of social media to trace critics and promote its message.

MRTV maintains a YouTube channel and shares hyperlinks to its broadcasts on Twitter, each of that are formally banned.

The United States condemned the web shutdown.

“We hope this won’t silence the voices of the people,” State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter advised a briefing.

The coup has rekindled previous wars with autonomy-seeking ethnic minority forces in the north and the east.

Myanmar’s oldest rebel group, the Karen National Union (KNU), has seen the primary army air strikes on its forces in greater than 20 years, after it introduced its assist for the pro-democracy motion.

The KNU stated greater than 12,000 villagers had fled their houses due to the air strikes. It known as for a world embargo on arms gross sales to the army.

“Their inhuman actions against unarmed civilians have caused the death of many people including children and students,” the group stated in a press release.

Media has reported that about 20 folks have been killed in air strikes in KNU territory in latest days, together with practically a dozen at a gold mine run by the group.

The KNU signed a ceasefire with the federal government in 2012 to finish their 60-year insurgency.

Fighting has additionally flared in the north between the military and ethnic Kachin insurgents. The turmoil has despatched a number of thousand refugees fleeing into Thailand and India.

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Updated on April 12, 2021 3:06 am

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