Massive protests erupted across Myanmar after the junta government came to power. Many civilians were killed in clashes between protesters and law enforcement. Many have to be imprisoned. As the violence began to subside, several groups announced an armed resistance against the army. Violence has risen again after anti-junta groups took action against the army. An AFP report fears that if the army uses its full force against these organizations, there could be widespread casualties. According to a local watchdog, more than 70 people have been killed in anti-junta protests in Myanmar since February.
In some parts of Myanmar, locals are collecting rifles and firearms. These weapons are made in the forest there. They are building a defense force by collecting weapons from there to fight against the army. The Myanmar army is using helicopters and ammunition to respond to these defenses. There have also been clashes between the army and these defense groups on the Thai border in northwestern Myanmar, China and the country’s east.
The Brussels-based The International Crisis Group (ICG) says Myanmar’s military could deploy its troops against civilians in the face of an armed insurgency. It will cause massive loss of life. Then women, children and old people will face the most loss. If the violence increases, the number of displaced people will also increase.
According to the ICG, violence has spread to places in Myanmar where there has been no violence in the past decade. A United Nations report last week said about 230,000 people had been displaced in Myanmar so far.
There have been at least 20 ethnic rebel groups in Myanmar since before the recent military coup. Those who have been involved in clashes with the army and law enforcement forces at different times and suffered many casualties. After the junta government came to power, these newly formed defense teams have further clouded the situation.
Meanwhile, Myanmar’s lawyers say that as the days go by, the situation is becoming more difficult for them. The junta government is selectively arresting and harassing lawyers. The junta government has failed to quell the insurgency and has started walking another path. Lawyers who are fighting for protesters and political prisoners are being arrested and harassed in various ways. So far, the junta has arrested at least five lawyers in Myanmar without cause. The lawyers there consider this incident as an attack on the judiciary. Besides, local and foreign journalists are also being arrested in Myanmar.
“They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” resident Thu Ya Zaw told Reuters news agency in the central town of Myingyan
“We will keep protesting regardless.”
The lethal crackdown came as protesters defied warnings and took to the streets on the annual Armed Forces Day.
US, UK and EU officials condemned the violence, with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab calling it a “new low”.
Protesters gathered across Myanmar, also known as Burma, on Saturday.
State TV aired an announcement the previous evening saying people “should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back”.
Security forces were out in strength trying to prevent rallies.
Images shared on social media showed people with gunshot wounds and families mourning.
The director of the UK-based Burma Human Rights Network told the BBC the military had shown it had “no limits, no principles”.
“It’s a massacre, it’s not a crackdown anymore,” Kyaw Win said.
Violent crackdowns using live ammunition were reported in more than 40 locations across the country.
Local news site Myanmar Now put the death toll at 114, while the United Nations said it was receiving reports of “scores killed” and hundreds more injured.
The AAPP said among the fatalities was a 13-year-old girl who was shot dead inside her home.
In the main city Yangon, gunshots were fired at the US cultural centre on Saturday. The US embassy said those shots caused no injuries