‘Barricaded’ Burmese protesters leave after tense confrontation | Military news

Hundreds of ‘barricaded’ Burmese protesters in an area of ​​Yangon city were allowed to leave after an overnight standoff in which police and other government soldiers violently cracked down on anti-government protests, detaining dozens and apparently broke into homes to question them. residents.

Activists told Reuters news agency on Tuesday that several protesters were able to leave after being trapped by security forces in Sanchaung district, while protesters’ social media posts claimed they were able to s ‘escape early in the morning after the police left the area.

Young activist Shar Ya Mone told Reuters on Tuesday that she had been jailed in a building with around 15 to 20 other people but had now been able to return home.

But there have also been reports that at least 50 people in the area have been detained without warrants late on Monday and Tuesday mornings.

Images posted on social media showed individuals in handcuffs surrounded by police and security forces in combat uniforms.

Security forces are reported to have searched homes and fired rifles and stun grenades as they threatened Sanchaung residents to punish anyone caught giving refuge to protesters.

Previously, the head of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, had called on the security forces to observe “maximum restraint” in their relations with the demonstrators.

“Many of these trapped people are women who walked peacefully to commemorate International Women’s Day,” Guterres spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said on Monday.

According to the UN human rights office, “police started shooting and making arrests” in the country’s largest city on Monday evening.

The United States Embassy in Yangon called on the security forces “to withdraw and allow people to return home safely.”

The standoff followed another day of violence in which two protesters were killed in Kachin state and one in the Ayeyarwady area, just west of Yangon.

Target the media, the opposition

The generals also stepped up pressure on the media, with security forces raiding the Yangon offices of the Myanmar Now news agency overnight, seizing computers and other equipment, according to the Mizzima news site.

Mizzima news also confirmed that its publication and broadcast license had been revoked by the military government, along with four other independent media outlets.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since a February 1 coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and sparked mass protests against the military.

Police and army responded with increasingly brutal crackdowns on protesters, with more than 50 people killed and more than 1,800 arrested according to the latest figures from the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, which monitors detentions.

Human rights groups on Tuesday called for an investigation into the weekend’s death of Khin Maung Latt, a National League for Democracy (NLD) official from Aung San Suu Kyi, died while in military custody. His body was reportedly seriously injured in his hand and back, indicating possible torture.

Brad Adams, the Asia director of Human Rights Watch called on the generals to “promptly and impartially investigate” the death and to “hold accountable” those responsible.

Adams also called on the military government to “emergency produce” U Peter, father of another NLD member. U Peter was “forcibly disappeared” on March 7, allegedly “beaten and taken away” by security forces.

Protesters flee police, engulfed in clouds of tear gas and fire extinguisher, during protest against military coup in Yangon on Monday [Stringer/Reuters]

“The increasingly bloody crackdown by the Burmese junta must be accompanied by a serious and united international response,” Adams said, calling for select sanctions against military leaders and their companies.

Dujarric, the UN spokesperson, urged the generals to “respect the rights to freedom of assembly and expression” of the demonstrators.

He also reported that the secretary-general received a letter from a “special envoy” to the UN, appointed by a committee representing the Myanmar parliament, who was forced into hiding following the coup. .

“As far as I know, we haven’t had any contact,” Dujarric said. “But we will continue to call people who may have contact with him.”

Total arms embargo

The envoy, who bears only Dr Sasa’s name, called on Guterres in the letter, which was obtained by the AFP news agency, to call on the Security Council “to help protect the people of Myanmar. against further human rights violations ”.

He also called for “strong and targeted sanctions – not only against military leaders, but also against businesses and military assets.”

The letter, dated March 4, called for “a total arms embargo against the military, to ensure that more weapons do not enter areas already under military offensives.”

Dujarric said UN officials, including his Myanmar Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener, “have been in contact with elected parliamentarians through ongoing contact with key stakeholders.”

Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab praised Myanmar’s ambassador to London who called on Monday for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, both detained during the coup. State.

“I salute the courage and patriotism of Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn who called for the release of Aung Sung Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint and respect for the 2020 election results,” Raab said in a statement.

“The military regime must end its brutal repression and restore democracy.”

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