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Burmese protesters express defiance as junta recalls “external threats”

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(Reuters) – Protesters in Myanmar on Sunday maintained their steadfast opposition to military rule despite rising death tolls at the hands of security forces, with the junta appearing just as determined to resist mounting external pressure for a compromise.

FILE PHOTO: Protesters flee live tours in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on March 20, 2021, in this still image from social media video obtained by Reuters.

A man was killed and several others injured when police opened fire on a group setting up a barricade in the central town of Monywa, a doctor said as a community group appealed on Facebook for blood donors .

The violence has forced determined people to resist a return to military rule after a decade of attempts to move towards democracy to imagine new ways of taking a stand.

Protesters in nearly 20 locations across the country staged candlelit protests on Saturday night and Sunday, from the main city of Yangon to small communities in northern Kachin State and the southernmost town of Kawthaung, according to a count of social media posts. .

Hundreds of people in Mandalay’s Second City, including many medical staff in white coats, marched before sunrise in a dawn protest, a video posted by the news portal showed. Mizzima.

Failure of the military regime, our cause our cause … federal democracy, our cause our cause, the crowds chanted as the sky began to clear and the birds shouted from the trees lining the otherwise deserted streets.

Protesters in some places were joined by Buddhist monks holding candles while some people used candles to shape the three-fingered protest salute.

Others came out later on Sunday, including crowds in Monywa, where police opened fire.

Sniper, sniper, people can be heard screaming in a video clip shortly after the man was shot in the head and more shots rang out.

The junta spokesman was not available for comment, but previously said security forces only used force when necessary.

With the latest murder, the death toll since the coup rose to at least 248, based on a count by the activist group of the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners.

The army said two police officers were killed during the protests.

FOREIGN INSULTS

Western countries have repeatedly condemned the coup and the violence. Asian neighbors, who for years avoided self-criticism, have also started to speak out.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, in some of the strongest comments yet from a regional leader, said on Friday that the violence must end immediately. He called for an urgent meeting of the Southeast Asia regional grouping, of which Myanmar is a member.

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin backed the call by saying he was dismayed by the continued use of deadly violence against civilians. Singapore also expressed its disapproval.

The military has shown no sign of being forced to reverse its coup, which derailed a slow transition to democracy in a country that had been under strict military rule since a 1962 coup until the generals initiated reforms ten years ago.

The junta said an election won on November 8 by the Suu Kyis party was fraudulent, a charge rejected by the election commission. Military leaders have promised a new election but have not set a date.

Coup leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing visited the Coco Islands, one of the most important outposts in Myanmars, 400 km south of Yangon, on Saturday and reminded members of the armed force that their main duty was to defend the country against threats.

The islands are close to some of the world’s most important shipping routes, in waters where China and India seek to project their might. None of the Asian giants has spoken out strongly against the coup and violence.

The national Kyemon newspaper highlighted a quote from independence hero Aung San, father of Suu Kyis, who said in 1947: It is the duty of everyone to sacrifice their life and to defend and fight against the insults of foreign countries.

Suu Kyi, 75, faces charges of corruption and other crimes that could see her banned from politics and jailed if found guilty. His lawyer says the charges are trumped up.

Reporting by Reuters staff; Writing by Robert Birsel; Editing by William Mallard and Kim Coghill

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