The bloodiest day of repression since the coup d’état of February 1 in Burma, with at least 107 people killed on Saturday including seven children, raised an outcry in the world on Sunday, in particular from the European Union and the President of the States – United, who strongly condemned this violence.
“It’s terrible,” US President Joe Biden told reporters on Sunday. “It is absolutely scandalous and according to the information I have received, a lot of people have been killed in a completely unnecessary manner.”
The European Union, through the voice of its head of diplomacy, for its part condemned Sunday evening “an unacceptable escalation of violence”, “an insane path” chosen by the Burmese military junta. In a statement, EU High Representative Josep Borrell called Saturday a “day of horror and shame”.
Activists for the restoration of democracy had called for new demonstrations on Saturday, the day when the army organizes a gigantic parade every year in front of the head of the army, now head of the junta, General Min Aung Hlaing.
On Saturday evening, Min Aung Hlaing and his wife received dignitaries, including Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomine, at a sumptuous alfresco dinner in Naypyidaw. The official mirror newspaper reported that a concert was given as well as a drone show featuring Min Aung Hlaing saluting.
The United Nations estimated Saturday’s death toll at 107 people – including seven children – but expects the death toll to rise further. Local media report 114 dead.
A previous report reported at least 90 dead.
“The shameful, cowardly and brutal actions of the military and police – which were filmed shooting protesters as they fled and which did not even spare young children – must be stopped immediately.” , said two senior UN officials, Michelle Bachelet and Alice Wairimu Nderitu, in a joint statement.
But according to the chain Myawaddy TV, managed by the army, the toll of the day of Saturday is 45 dead and 552 arrests. Television justified the crackdown by claiming that the protesters used firearms and bombs against the security forces.
The death toll has risen to at least 423, according to AAPP, a local NGO that records the death toll since the putsch.
On Sunday, the Burmese once again took to the streets of Yangon and other cities to demand a return to democracy, and numerous funerals were due to be held across the country, which is recovering from its bloodiest day since putsch.
“A girl was shot in the head and died in hospital, while two men were shot dead on the spot,” a rescuer from Monywa town told AFP.
In Hlaing, a district of Yangon, a 16-year-old boy lost his hand in an explosion, trying to return a grenade thrown by security forces at protesters, a rescue worker said.
In Mandalay, the family of Aye Ko, a father of four, killed in the night from Saturday to Sunday, paid tribute to him in a ceremony. “He was the only one to feed the family, losing him is a great loss for us,” a relative told AFP.
– Message from Western soldiers –
The heads of the defense forces of 12 countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Japan and Germany, condemned on the night of Saturday to Sunday the use of force by the Burmese army against “unarmed” civilians.
“A professional army follows international standards of conduct and has a responsibility to protect the people it serves, not to harm them,” they say in a rare joint statement.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he was “horrified” by the “terror” of the Burmese military. His British counterpart Dominic Raab considered that the junta had reached a “new level” in the repression.
The US embassy in Yangon asked its citizens to limit their movements on Sunday, calling on them to be “careful” if they had to travel. The American Cultural Center in Yangon was the target of gunfire on Saturday.
The military used live ammunition in more than 40 townships in nine regions, including Yangon, the country’s largest city, according to the AAPP.
– Automatic weapon fire –
“Junta forces fired automatic weapons on residential areas, killing many civilians, including six children between the ages of ten and sixteen,” the NGO said. “The fact that the illegitimate military regime targets children is a serious act of inhumanity.”
Meanwhile, an armed rebel group from the Karen ethnic minority, the Karen National Union, claimed to have been bombarded by junta hunters in the east on Saturday, hours after the rebel group seized the area. a military base.
Hsa Moo, of the Karen ethnicity and human rights activist, told AFP that three people were killed and at least eight injured.
This is the first air attack in this state in 20 years. The target, the Fifth Brigade of the National Karen Union (KNU), is one of the largest armed groups in the country and claims to represent the Karen people.
New airstrikes on Sunday pushed 2,000 people from two villages in Karen state to cross the Thai border for safety, according to Hsa Moo.