Thirty-eight people were killed in Myanmar as the military quelled protests in several towns and cities on Wednesday, the United Nations said, the most violent day since demonstrations against last month’s military coup first broke out.
Police and soldiers opened fire with live rounds with little warning, witnesses said.
|Nearly 40 killed in violent day of protests against Myanmar coup, U.N. envoy says
The bloodshed occurred one day after neighbouring countries had called for restraint in the aftermath of the military’s overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
“It’s horrific, it’s a massacre. No words can describe the situation and our feelings,” youth activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told Reuters via a messaging app.
The dead included four children, an aid agency said. Hundreds of protesters were arrested, local media reported.
“Today it was the bloodiest day since the coup happened on the 1st of February. We had today — only today — 38 people died. We have now more than over 50 people died since the coup started, and many are wounded,” United Nations special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said in New York.
A spokesman for the ruling military council did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
Schraner Burgener said that in conversations with Myanmar’s deputy military chief Soe Win, she had warned him that the military was likely to face strong measures from some countries and isolation in retaliation for the coup.
“The answer was: ‘We are used to sanctions, and we survived’,” she told reporters in New York. “When I also warned they will go (into) isolation, the answer was: ‘We have to learn to walk with only few friends’.”
The U.N. Security Council is due to discuss the situation on Friday in a closed meeting, diplomats said.