Myanmar activists plea for protection

·3-min read

Myanmar security forces have killed an anti-coup protester and wounded a toddler in fresh violence overnight as activists called on armed ethnic groups in the diverse nation to back their struggle against military rule.

After the bloodiest day since last month's military coup with 114 deaths on Saturday, security forces opened fire at a funeral on Sunday, witnesses said.

Another 13 people were killed in other incidents over the weekend, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group on Sunday, taking its total toll of civilians killed since the February 1 coup to 459.

In the town of Pathein in the Ayeyarwady region one man was shot dead by security forces on Sunday evening, DVB TV News reported.

Meanwhile, in the South Dagon area of the commercial hub of Yangon a one-and-a-half-year old toddler was hurt by gun fire, the Mizzima news portal reported.

Police and a junta spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.

The General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN), one of the main protest groups, in an open letter posted on Facebook urged armed ethnic groups "to collectively protect the people, youths, women, children and elders" who opposed military rule.

About 3000 people fled to neighbouring Thailand after military jets bombed areas controlled by the Karen National Union (KNU) militia near the border, an activist group and media said.

At least three civilians were killed on Saturday in an air attack by the military on a village controlled by the KNU, a civil society group said.

The militia earlier said it had overrun an army post near the border, killing 10 people.

Fighting also erupted on Sunday between another armed group, the Kachin Independence Army, and the military in the jade-mining area of Hpakant in the north.

The Kachin forces attacked a police station and the military responded with an aerial assault, Kachinwaves media reported.

There were no reports of casualties.

At least six children between the ages of 10 and 16 were among those killed across Myanmar on Saturday, according to news reports and witnesses. Protesters call the victims 'Fallen Stars'.

On Sunday, mourners fled shooting by security forces at a service for 20-year-old student Thae Maung Maung in Bago near Yangon and there were no immediate reports of casualties.

People in Mandalay surrounded a police station late in the evening on Sunday, accusing the security forces of arson after five houses burned down, residents said.

"While we are singing the revolution song for him, security forces just arrived and shot at us," a woman called Aye who was at the service said.

"People, including us, ran away as they opened fire."

UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar Tom Andrews said the army was carrying out "mass murder" and called on the world to isolate the junta and halt its access to weapons.

Countries including the United States, Britain, Germany and the European Union again condemned the violence.

"It's terrible, it's absolutely outrageous," US President Joe Biden told reporters in Delaware.

"Based on the reporting I've gotten, an awful lot of people have been killed totally unnecessarily."

The EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, called on the generals to stand down from what he called a "senseless path" of violence against their own people.

Myanmar's military took power saying that November elections won by Suu Kyi's party were fraudulent, an assertion dismissed by the country's election commission.

Suu Kyi remains in detention at an undisclosed location and many other figures in her party are also in custody.