At least 38 people were killed in anti-coup protests in Myanmar on Wednesday, the United Nations said, in the bloodiest crackdown yet on peaceful demonstrations against a military coup.
Security forces opened fire on people protesting against military rule across Myanmar, a day after neighbouring countries called for restraint and offered to help resolve the crisis.
Police and soldiers opened fire with live rounds with little warning, witnesses said.
Describing Wednesday’s death toll as “shocking”, Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN’s envoy on Myanmar, said in New York there were “now more than 50 people [dead] since the coup started and many are wounded”.
She cited weapons experts who examined video footage that appeared to show police using 9mm sub-machine guns to fire live ammunition at people.
“I saw today very disturbing video clips. One was [showing] police beating a volunteer medical crew; they were not armed,” Burgener told a virtual briefing.
“Another video clip showed a protester was taken away from police and they shot him from very near, maybe one metre. He didn’t resist his arrest and it seems he died on the street.”
The envoy said about 1,200 people have been detained in Myanmar since last month’s coup and many families do not know their health condition or whereabouts.
“How can we watch this situation longer? Every tool available is needed now to stop this situation. We need now a unity of the international community, so it’s up to the member states to take the right measures,” Burgener said.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been tracking arrests since the coup, says 1,498 people have been detained with 1,192 still in detention. In its nightly briefing on the situation in the country it condemned the use of force against peaceful protesters, saying live ammunition had been used in seven cities across the country.
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