Myanmar Military Imposes Martial Laws in More Districts

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March 15, 2021/Myanmar-
Myanmar’s military has imposed martial law across more districts around the country following the deadliest day of protests since February’s coup.

About 50 people were reported killed when troops and police opened fire on protesters in various areas on Sunday. Most deaths were in Yangon.

Protesters are demanding the release of ousted civilian leader Aung San Kyi.

She heads the National League for Democracy (NLD) which saw a landslide victory in elections last November.

The military detained most of the NLD leadership after the coup, alleging voter fraud. No proof has been provided.

Ms Suu Kyi has been held at an unknown location since the 1 February coup. She is due to face a slew of charges her supporters say are fabricated.

On Monday, she was due to appear in court, but the virtual hearing was adjourned due to internet problems.

Myanmar coup: What is happening and why?

The military initially declared martial law in two districts of Yangon (Rangoon), the country’s largest city, on Sunday after Chinese businesses were attacked. Martial law was imposed in several other areas of Yangon and Mandalay on Monday. Protesters there can now be tried in military courts.

Protesters believe China is giving support to the military in Myanmar (also called Burma) but it is unclear who was behind the weekend attacks.

In total, more than 120 protesters have been killed during the crackdown, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group.

On Monday there were fresh protests in Mandalay and a number of other locations. Casualties were reported after security forces opened fire on protesters in the central towns of Myingyan and Aunglan.

Over the weekend soldiers and police could be seen calmly firing their weapons directly into the crowds, and dragging off the dead and wounded with no apparent concern for their wellbeing.

Their contempt for the civilian population has been illustrated in multiple videos posted on social media, showing soldiers taunting protesters with their weapons, and in the savage treatment of detainees; this is a military waging war against its own population, and the growing chorus of outrage from other countries appears to be falling on deaf ears.

The generals who led last month’s coup are set on imposing their authority on a population in open rebellion.

Indiscriminate gunfire and casual brutality are their chosen methods. There has been no hint yet that they might consider negotiating a peaceful way out with the government they overthrew.

What is Ms Suu Kyi charged with?

The ousted civilian leader is facing charges including “fear and alarm”, illegally possessing radio equipment, and breaking Covid rules.

The charges against Ms Suu Kyi carry sentences of several years in jail and could also lead to her being barred from running in future elections if convicted.