Mon, 19 Apr 2021

Myanmar Security Forces Arrest at Least 3 in Night Raids

Voice of America
07 Mar 2021, 16:05 GMT+10

Myanmar security forces conducted overnight raids Saturday night into Sunday morning in several districts of Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, residents said.

At least three people were arrested in Kyauktada Township in downtown Yangon, residents said, with no reason given for the arrests.

"They are asking to take out my father and brother. Is no one going to help us?" one woman screamed as two of the three, an actor and his son, were led off, according to Reuters.

Soldiers also looked for but didn't find a lawyer who worked for former de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, a member of the now dissolved parliament, Sithu Maung, said in a Facebook post.

Reuters was unable to reach police for comment, and a junta spokesperson did not answer calls requesting comment.

More protests are expected Sunday, according to local media reports, after military units used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse anti-coup protesters in Yangon on Saturday.

The General Strike Committee of Nationalities said protests would be held in Yangon, Mandalay and Monywa, also centers for protests in which the United Nations says security forces have killed more than 50 people.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group said Saturday that more than 1,700 people had been detained under the junta, according to its figures.

"Detainees were punched and kicked with military boots, beaten with police batons, and then dragged into police vehicles," AAPP said in a statement. "Security forces entered residential areas and tried to arrest further protesters, and shot at the homes, destroying many."

State television MRTV reported Saturday that Myanmar authorities had exhumed the body of Kyal Sin, also known as Angel, who died while wearing a T-shirt that read, "Everything will be OK."

Kyal Sin, who has become an icon of the protests, was shot in the head and died Wednesday.

The police, doctors and a judge determined that she was killed by "those who do not want stability" and not police, MRTV said. Officials had said her wound was to the back of her head, and therefore couldn't have been caused by police. However, photos published by Reuters show Kyal Sin had the back of her head turned to a line of security forces moments before she was shot.

Myanmar has been consumed by chaos and violence since February 1, when the military overthrew the civilian government and detained Suu Kyi and other high-ranking NLD officials. Military officials say widespread fraud occurred in last November's election, which the NLD won in a landslide. However, the country's election officials deny any significant irregularities.

Soldiers and police have cracked down on demonstrators using live ammunition and rubber bullets, shooting indiscriminately into the crowds.

The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said Friday that in the past seven days, at least 50 "innocent and peaceful protesters" have been killed and scores more have been wounded.

She said as of March 2, the U.N. office of human rights is aware of about 1,000 people who are either known to be in detention or unaccounted for after having been arbitrarily detained since the coup.

"There is an urgency for collective action," she told U.N. Security Council members. "How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?"

Schraner Burgener said the international community must make it clear that perpetrators of serious human rights violations will be held accountable.

Separately, the U.N.'s human rights expert on Myanmar, Tom Andrews, called on the Security Council to impose a global arms embargo on the military.

"I urge the Council to take decisive and unified action against the military junta, including targeted sanctions, an arms embargo, and a referral to the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute atrocities committed since the coup on 1 February and those committed against ethnic groups in years prior," he said in a statement.

He noted that 41 countries already have imposed arms embargoes on Myanmar's military.

The committee representing the NLD legislators is also calling for "robust, targeted sanctions" and an arms embargo against the junta in a letter dated March 4 to U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

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