Over 500 civilians have been killed since coup, NGO says

The funeral of a protester against the military junta on March 29, 2021 in Taunggyi, Burma. – AFP

The toll is growing every day in Burma. According to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), more than 500 civilians have been killed since the February 1 military coup in the country. Among them, many students and adolescents.

“We have confirmed 510 deaths”, indicated the NGO which specifies that the toll “is probably much higher”. And hundreds of people arrested over the past two months are missing. The toll was particularly heavy on Saturday, “Burmese Armed Forces Day”, with more than 110 people killed, including seven minors.

Despite the deadly crackdown, protesters took to the streets again on Monday. Fourteen civilians perished, especially in the east of Yangon, the economic capital, according to the AAPP. Funerals were held for the victims of the last few days and large crowds surrounded the coffins, some waving with three fingers in resistance.

International disagreements

Faced with this bloodbath, Washington announced the immediate suspension of the framework agreement on trade and investment concluded in 2013 with Burma, until the reestablishment of a “democratically elected” government. France denounced “the indiscriminate and murderous violence” of the regime and demanded the release of “all political prisoners” including Aung San Suu Kyi, still in solitary confinement. London, for its part, has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, which will take place behind closed doors on Wednesday.

But Burmese generals have so far listened to Western protests and sanctions. They were also able to count on the divisions of the international community: China and India refused to formally condemn the coup. Russia maintains close ties with the junta: Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin took part in the annual parade of the Burmese armed forces on Saturday.

The Kremlin is certainly worried about the “growing” number of the dead, but declared that Burma remains a “reliable ally and a strategic partner” with which it wishes to strengthen its military relations. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the international community to “more unity” and “more commitment” to put pressure on the junta.

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