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More than 100 Burmese citizens killed in the past 24 hours – Myanmar military defies international demands

Tim Newton

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The reported killing of protesters and Burmese citizens by Myanmar’s Tatmadaw of over 100 people in the past 24 hours, makes Saturday, March 27 the single deadliest day since February 1 coup. The number of Burmese civilians reported killed since the coup has reached 440 people. On the BBC, more than 90 deaths were confirmed by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group. Other media outlets are reporting at least 50 killed.

Videos which are being uploaded from Myanmar show indiscriminate shootings from military gangs (below). There are many, many more making their way into social media, an indication of the real situation in the country.

Yesterday marked Myanmar’s annual Armed Forces Day, which usually commemorates the beginning of resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945. Defying warnings from the Tatmadaw, the lethal crackdown continued as protesters took to the streets. State TV broadcast an announcement on Friday night warning people… “you should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back”.

Thailand sent a representative to inspect the Armed Services Day celebrations in the capital Naypyidaw.

WARNING – Graphic content

Report from France 24…

Now calls are growing louder in the international community for the UN Security Council to take firm and swift action, including an emergency international summit. ASEAN, mostly, has remained silent over the killings of Myanmar’s citizens.

UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews says the Burmese junta should be cut off from funding, including oil and gas revenues, and had their access to weapons cut off.

“Words of condemnation or concern are frankly ringing hollow to the people of Myanmar while the military junta commits mass murder against them.”

“Words are not enough. It is past time for robust, coordinated action.”

A statement condemning Myanmar’s security forces, has been signed by 12 heads of defence in the following countries – Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, UK and the US. The joint statement is a rare declaration by senior military commanders from countries around the world.

The statement says Myanmar’s military “has lost credibility with its people”.

“As chiefs of defence, we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar armed forces and associated security services.”

“…a professional military must follow international standards for conduct “and is responsible for protecting, not harming, the people it serves.”

Additionally, an EU delegation to Myanmar has described yesterday’s killing spree as a “day of terror and dishonour”, saying the country has marked a “new low”.

News reports and witnesses claim security forces killed 114 people, including children, yesterday as part of the wider crackdown on dissenters after the February 1 military coup ousted the elected civilian government.

Myanmar’s military leaders have largely remained silent and, so far, ignored international criticism of its violent crackdown.

According to The Guardian, the London-based Burma Human Rights Network is calling on the international community “to tighten economic sanctions on Myanmar’s business interests and impose a global arms embargo and a no-fly zone in the country’s ethnic conflict zones”.

“Every day the horror committed of the Burmese army gets worse as they become more desperate to cling to the power they stole from the people. The international community must respond immediately to end this nightmare for the Burmese people.”

With both Russia and China, who have supported the Burmese military in the past, being veto-holding members of the UN security council, they could block any potential action or sanctions on Myanmar at this time.

Russia’s deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin attended a parade yesterday in the capital Naypyidaw, after meeting with senior junta Burmese military leaders on Friday.

Thailand , Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Laos also sent representatives to attend the Armed Forces Day parade in the nation’s capital. Russia was the only one to send a senior minister.

SOURCE: The Guardian | BBC

 

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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Avatar

    ynwaps

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 1:17 pm

    Wen Russian food trucks?

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 3:29 pm

    I’m almost (but not quite) as appalled by the statement from the “12 heads of defence” as I am by the Burmese military.

    It’s pretty simple – the military, anywhere, shouldn’t be involved in politics or in other countries’ affairs (or their own) EXCEPT on their governments’ orders.

    That’s always been accepted in most of those countries, and this sets a very unpleasant precedent elevating military commanders to positions they shouldn’t have anywhere.

  3. Avatar

    Jason

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    An Army that kills it’s own people, is not an Army. I wouldn’t expect the CCP or the Russian Communist Party to understand this.

  4. Avatar

    Ray

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    How can these soldiers kill civilians at random? They too are Burmese and have families. Perhaps they are drugged.

  5. Avatar

    James R

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 7:35 pm

    Ray

    An answer.

    They can kill civilians quite easily, the Germans did it in Russia and the British and Americans did it by carpet bombing cities full of civilians in Germany, one raid was typically 1000 heavy bombers, many bombs were incendiaries causing death by fire, they used to raid twice a day.

    Oh yes and the Americans and Australians in Vietnam kills many innocent civilians.

    Issan

    In Myanmar, the government is the military.

    Are you suggesting the countries who could help stop the killing do nothing and sit by?

  6. Avatar

    Issan John

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    It doesn’t excuse the Burmese military in any way, James R, but you can add the British Army’s actions at home, in Scotland and more recently in Ireland and Northern Ireland to the list, as well as abroad …

    … it’s not that simple or just the Russians and Chinese, Jason and Ray.

    … and ‘no’, James R, I’m not for a second “suggesting the countries who could help stop the killing do nothing and sit by”.

    What I’m objecting to about the statement from the “12 heads of defence”, apart from it achieving nothing other than to make the 12 of them feel important, is that the military, anywhere, shouldn’t be involved in politics or in other countries’ affairs (or their own) EXCEPT on their governments’ orders.

    That applies to those 12 countries just as it does to Burma or anywhere else closer to home.

    What I’m “suggesting” elsewhere, FWIW, is that the “robust” measures some countries have taken such as preventing them travelling to countries they weren’t going to anyway and freezing assets in banks where they don’t have any assets is about as “robust” as banning them from participating in Miss International Queen … and that the idea of direct military intervention, suggested here by some half-wit, wasn’t only impractical but downright stupid given the West’s recent performance elsewhere.

    What I’m “suggesting” is that countries, including the 12 with the defence chiefs with ideas above their station, ARE just “sitting by” and “doing nothing”, apart from trying to look good.

  7. Avatar

    James R

    Sunday, March 28, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Issan

    I think in practise not a lot will be done, I am not agreeing with that action but no one really cares what goes in In Myanmar as it has nothing to offer the West, oil for example.

    Look at the wars which have been going on for 30 years in Africa, nothing has ever been done.

    Plus after the years in Afghanistan etc the West is tired of getting its own soldiers involved and lives being lost.

    So basically on a world wide scale, no one with any real influence is bothered.

    Obviously a lot of politicians trying to score point will make a noise as will film actors, singers etc in order to help their popularity but nothing will be done.

  8. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:07 am

    I agree with you entirely, James R.

    A lot of noise from a lot of hypocrites, with a dozen defence chiefs joining the actors and singers except with a lot less sense – after all, “protecting democracy and the people” is the excuse for every military coup including Burma’s (and Thailand’s).

    The simple reality is that with no money involved, few care.

    FWIW I wasn’t suggesting for a second that there was a military solution – that would be real stupidity, lining up for an arse-kicking followed, at best, by yet another civil war.

  9. Avatar

    Ray

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 3:20 am

    @ James R
    The Germans had an enemy in Russia and this also applies to the USA and Australia in Indochina. It doesn’t justify any of the atrocities against civilians which sadly happened in both wars. With the situation in Myanmar, I just can’t get my head around the fact that soldiers shoot at their own citizens who are are peaceful. They are not even against the army an sich. The dictators just want to hold on to their riches. How can the lower ranks follow the orders to shoot for such a lowly cause?
    If you look at Belarus, where similar shootings happened, the population is divided between east (Russia) and west (EU). In Myanmar they tried democracy and it did not do any harm. It will take time, but the dictators will go sooner or later. The people will hate them forever and will do anything to get rid of them.

  10. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:42 am

    “I just can’t get my head around the fact that soldiers shoot at their own citizens who are are peaceful.”

    I don’t know what country you’re from, Ray, but I can’t think of any country, East or West, where this doesn’t happen – all that varies is the degree.

    Look at the UK and Bloody Sunday as well as countless similar incidents at that time and since, and beyond countless incidents in the US with the police, as in France and all too many others.

    Look at Thailand, where a couple of decades ago soldiers considered “watermelons” (green on the outside, red on the inside) were shooting “peaceful” citizens.

    “How can the lower ranks follow the orders to shoot for such a lowly cause?”

    In part because they’re not always “following orders” but abusing their position instead, with their commanders at worst condoning and encouraging it and at best turning a blind eye – remember that most soldiers (but far from all) aren’t known or recruited for their empathy and compassion but for natural aggression and violence, however controlled, and few armies recruit or conscript from the cream of society or the intelligencia. Look at the abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan by the British Army, most unresolved, and in Afghanistan by the Australians who must have one of the most diverse populations of any country and some of the most educated “lower ranks”.

    In part because that’s what “lower ranks” are conditioned and trained to do – not “blind obedience”, at least in the more selective and highly trained armies, but “instant reaction”. Questioning orders is seldom looked on benignly and isn’t the best career move.

    … and in part by choosing what troops to deploy and use where. In Myanmar’s case, rather than deploy largely conscript forces as they normally do, many of whom would be from the cities and urban areas where the protests are, this time they’ve deployed their Light Infantry divisions, headed by the 33rd, who are not only the most battle hardened after decades fighting Karen rebels but pride themselves on being the most aggressive in “protecting” their country against protesters in 1988 and 2007 and against Rohingya in 2017 – of all the Burmese military units, they probably have the least in common with the urban protesters, particularly the younger element.

    None of that’s intended to excuse the totally inexcusable, Ray – just to answer your questions.

  11. Avatar

    Pro2A

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 12:39 pm

    aaaaaaand this is the PRIME example on why I will never give up my guns in the USA. It is also the prime reason on why we have the second ammendemtn right to keep and bear arms in USA.
    I hope the People of Burma can stand strong

  12. Avatar

    Olga

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 1:26 pm

    The fact that the Burmese military are killing their civilians is undoubtedly terrible, I cannot imagine how other countries can stop this. But if Russia, China and other dictatorships want to not only repeat the experience of the Myanmar junta in the fight against their own opposition, but also unite to seize neighboring countries and / or impose their own principles of government in the rest of the world, this would already be a global problem. But, judging by my observations, the majority of the population is not averse to living in an undemocratic society.

  13. Avatar

    Ray

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    @IJ
    I understand dictators use special trained forces to suppress uprisings within a country. That’s what happened in Tiananmen Square. The soldiers were from a different ethnicity too. Same happened in Indonesia when it was fighting for independence. Soldiers recruited from the Moluccan islands fought alongside the Dutch forces against Sukarno. In Thailand you had two major political factions who were creating civil unrest when the army took power. In many other situations dictatorships have at least some reasoning and backing from part of the population. Venezuela comes to mind, where there is still some support for the legacy of Chavez I don’t see any of this in Myanmar. The vast majority (the military only got 7% by the voting) choose for democracy and it worked without too many problems. There was no unrest and no incidents where the police had to turn on the people. It is an extreme case where there is seemingly nothing else at play than pure greed from the dictators. I am still not understanding how the other soldiers who are from the cities, stay idle in their compounds when the special forces are shooting the Burmese? Not all are killing machines.

  14. Avatar

    Issan John

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:14 pm

    “I am still not understanding how the other soldiers who are from the cities, stay idle in their compounds when the special forces are shooting the Burmese? Not all are killing machines”

    They’re not “special trained forces”, Ray, either in Myanmar or elsewhere – just, in some cases, the most suitable for the job because of ethnicity or experience.

    Very few countries have specially trained military units for internal security / counter insurgency – it’s just not that much of a speciality and there’s too much overlap with conventional ops abroad nowadays, so it’s just a part of pre-deployment training.

    I agree with you 100% about the lack of support for the military in Myanmar, but there’s a world of difference between individual soldiers disagreeing with civilians being shot and deserting, which there have been some reports of, and units disagreeing and taking action against their fellow soldiers.

    That doesn’t mean that they’re all “killing machines”, but neither are they all willing to risk stepping out of line when doing so would result in some pretty immediate “instant justice”.

    On a separate note, a lot of people would disagree with you VERY strongly that “In Thailand you had two major political factions who were creating civil unrest when the army took power”.

    That may, arguably, have applied with some coups in the past, but it certainly didn’t apply in 2006 (the red shirts vs yellow shirts came two years AFTER the coup), nor did it apply in 2014 when there was only ONE “political faction creating civil unrest”, namely the PDRC led by Suthep Thaugsuban, which Suthep REPORTEDLY said afterwards was deliberately engineered with the full knowledge and support of the military in order to justify the coup.

  15. Avatar

    James R

    Monday, March 29, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    Ray

    You have therefore answered your own question by saying “The Germans had an enemy in Russia and this also applies to the USA and Australia in Indochina.” So that justifies a war?

    The Germans had a peace pact with Russia but then decided to invade Russia to gain land, oil and power, the Americans invaded a country far away which was no threat due to their approach to communism and so as usual innocent people were killed.

    Issan, you make the conflict which happened in N Ireland sound similar to what is going on in Myanmar, the fact was N Ireland was at civil war with itself and not with the rest of the UK, the soldiers were caught in the middle of it all.

    Yes some soldiers did do things wrong but there would have been many more deaths if the two sides, Catholics and Protestants were allowed to kill each other openly.

  16. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 2:32 am

    “Issan, you make the conflict which happened in N Ireland sound similar to what is going on in Myanmar”.

    If I did that certainly wasn’t my intention, which was simply to show Ray that it’s sadly not unique that “soldiers shoot at their own citizens who are peaceful” – his words, not mine.

    Other than that, I wasn’t drawing any sort of parallels between the two at all, because there are none.

    “Yes, some soldiers did do things wrong but there would have been many more deaths if the two sides, Catholics and Protestants were allowed to kill each other openly”

    Agreed, but so what, James R?

    I’m not talking about whether the British Army did a good job in NI on Banner or not – it’s of no relevance at all, but if you want to say so (and I don’t disagree at all) then go for it!

    My point was just responding to Ray, who “just can’t get my head around the fact that soldiers shoot at their own citizens who are peaceful” as his examples, like yours, only involve foreign countries / citizens.

    It happens, even in the West!!!

  17. Avatar

    Issan John

    Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at 2:48 am

    FWIW, James R, if you think I’m picking on the British Army unduly and want a different example, then how about the time the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed college students during a peaceful anti-war protest at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, killing four students and injuring several others?

  18. Avatar

    James R

    Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 10:35 pm

    Issan

    With such exchanges in this type of media it is difficult to see exactly what point a person is making and so misunderstandings occur.

    Yes, that is a good point re the Ohio National Guard.

    Oh and not exactly the point but a lot of non military people kill other people too.

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Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2012. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 41 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program, presented over 10,000 radio news bulletins, 3,900 in Thailand alone, hosted 650 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. As founder of The Thaiger, Tim now acts as the Content Manager and head-writer, whilst supervising the growth of the YouTube channel. He's reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

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