NAYPYIDAW (MYANMAR) – Myanmar security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators on Monday, leading to the death of two people, witnesses said. This comes after dozens of protesters were shot dead.
Two witnesses said that supporters of detained democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi marched again including in Mandalay and the central town of Myingyan where police opened fire.
An 18-year-old protester in Myingyan, said, “They fired on us. One girl got shot in the head and a boy got shot in the face.”
The protesters took to the streets raising voice against the authorities’ increased use of violence, with dozens killed on Sunday.
The Chinese embassy called for Myanmar’s ruling generals to stop violence and make sure the safety of people and property.
China’s Global Times newspaper said 32 Chinese-invested factories were “vandalised in vicious attacks”, which led to a damage worth $37 million and two Chinese employees were injured.
Japan said it was monitoring the situation and was mulling over how to respond, when it comes to economic cooperation.
Sixteen people were killed in other places, rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said, as well as one policeman.
Media said martial law had been enforced in Hlaingthaya and several other districts of Yangon, and in several parts of the second city of Mandalay.
The deaths from the protests has climbed to about 140, which is based on a tally by the AAPP and the latest reports.
Two sources with knowledge of the matter said, as part of an apparent bid to suppress news in connection to the turmoil, telecoms service providers were ordered to block all mobile data nationwide, Telecom Telenor said in a statement “mobile internet was unavailable”.
Suu Kyi was due to face another virtual court hearing on Monday but her lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, told the session could not continue because the internet was down indicating that there was no video conferencing. The next hearing will be on March 24, he said.
Tom Andrews, the United Nations human rights investigator on Myanmar, said on Twitter, “Heartbroken/outraged at news of the largest number of protesters murdered by Myanmar security forces in a single day. Junta leaders don’t belong in power, they belong behind bars”.
China’s embassy called the situation as “very severe” following attacks on the Chinese-financed factories and it pushed authorities to “stop all acts of violence, punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel”.
China’s Global Times newspaper blamed instigators for the arson and called for their punishment. It said China was attempting to promote a peaceful settlement of the crisis.
Protest leader Thinzar Shunlei Yi said Myanmar people did not have hatred for their Chinese neighbours, however, China’s rulers had to fully comprehend the outrage felt in Myanmar regarding their stand.
“Chinese government must stop supporting coup council if they actually care about Sino-Myanmar relations and to protect their businesses,” she said on Twitter.