Death toll in Myanmar continues to rise, bloodiest day yet

Death toll in Myanmar
  • The death toll in Myanmar continues to rise, with 141 people killed on 27 March alone and 543 to date, by one count. Among other actions, activists launched a garbage strike.
  • Protesters in Canada hit the streets against anti-Asian violence
  • Hong Kong pro-democracy activists convicted after holding banner during protest.

The death toll in Myanmar continues to rise even as opponents of the ruling military junta find new ways to protest. Their latest effort is a “garbage strike”, with trash piling up on the streets of the main city in the country.

The violence continues to escalate. On 28 March, security forces opened fire on a crowd that had been attending a funeral, the Associated Press reported. Some 141 people were killed on 27 March, the deadliest day so far. Another 14 were killed on 29 March.

A United Nations human rights expert, Christine Schraner Burgener, told the UN Security Council that the country “is on the verge of spiraling into a failed state,” AP reported. The Security Council has not yet issued a statement.

On 30 March, activists launched a “garbage strike”, asking people to leave garbage at intersections across Yangon.

Death toll in Myanmar continues to climb

The death toll in Myanmar has been climbing since the country’s military took over the government in a coup on 1 February. President U Win Myint and State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were both jailed.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), an independent organization, says at least 543 people have been killed since the current unrest started and 2,741 have been arrested, charged or sentenced as of 1 April and another 126 are evading arrest. The AAPP says more than 2,000 people remain in custody, generally without any charges. As per the AAPP:

On 1 April people across Burma continued to protest against the military dictatorship. Monywa Township, Sagaing Region, the main strike in Monywa was violently cracked down, one civilian was shot dead in the head and six others injured. In addition, some houses were raided. In Mandalay City, a man was shot dead in the head and his body taken away by the junta forces. Moreover, one man was also shot in the abdomen and died.

Last week, the ruling junta freed 628 people, ABC News reported,  including Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw.

Local media reported that on 23 March, a 7-year-old girl was killed in the city of Mandalay, the second biggest in the country, in a shooting after raids by soldiers. Farhan Haq, a United Nations spokesman, said the body is “extremely disturbed over the killing by security forces of a 7-year-old child in her home.”

In a symbolic move, the CRPH, an underground shadow self-proclaimed government made up mostly of ousted lawmakers, proposed an interim constitution. On 27 March, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing spoke about “terrorism which can be harmful to state tranquility

Hong Kong: Activists convicted

Seven pro-democracy activists were convicted in Hong Kong on 1 April for organizing and participating in marches during protests in 2019, the Associated Press reported. The news agency noted:

The verdict was the latest blow to the flagging democracy movement as the governments in Hong Kong and Beijing tighten the screws in their efforts to exert greater control over the semi-autonomous Chinese territory.

Among those convicted were Jimmy Lai, the tycoon owner of the Apple Daily newspaper and Martin Lee, who is in his 80s and was a founder of the Democratic Party. The court ruled that six of the defendants had carried a banner that criticized police and called for reforms while the seventh joined them later.

Belarus: Protesters arrested

More than 200 protesters were arrested during demonstrations to mark Freedom Day on 25 March. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya had called for people to take to the streets in large numbers, Intellinews reported. Military vehicle were used to support riot police and water cannon that were used on the demonstrators.

Canada: Protesting anti-Asian hate

Responding to a wave of anti-Asian hate crime, demonstrators hit the streets in several cities in Canada.

Protests were held on 28 March in multiple cities, including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal. Police forces across the country have noticed a significant increase in violence and attacks against Asian people since the COVID-19 pandemic started.

In Vancouver, for example, the number of attacks rose from around a dozen in 2019 to 98 in 2020.

Read more from Anticentric

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