What has happened?
- As Myanmar’s military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade Saturday in the country’s capital,
- Soldiers and police elsewhere reportedly killed dozens of people as they suppressed protests in the deadliest bloodletting since last month’s coup.
- The online news site Myanmar Now reported late Saturday that the death toll had reached 114.
- Numbers are higher than all estimates for the previous high on March 14, which ranged in counts from 74 to 90.
- The latest violence took the number killed in the suppression of protests in Myanmar since the 1 February coup to more than 400.
What is happening on the streets?
- Protesters gathered across Myanmar on Saturday.
- State TV aired an announcement the previous evening saying people “should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back”.
- Security forces were out in strength trying to prevent rallies.
- Images shared on social media showed people with gunshot wounds and families mourning.
- The director of the Burma Human Rights Network in UK told the BBC the military had shown it had “no limits, no principles”.
- “It’s a massacre, it’s not a crackdown anymore,” Kyaw Win said.
- Violent crackdowns using live ammunition were reported in more than 40 locations across the country.
Children among the dead and injured
- A one-year old girl was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet as she played on the pavement near her home in a suburb of Yangon.
- A five-year-old boy in Mandalay is fighting for his life after being shot in the head by security forces.
- Across the country, children are amongst the injured and the dead in the bloodiest day since the coup on the 1 February.
- “They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes,” resident Thu Ya Zaw told.
- “We will keep protesting “
- The lethal crackdown came as protesters defied warnings and took to the streets on the annual Armed Forces Day.
- The killings in Myanmar drew international condemnation.
- The US embassy said security forces were “murdering unarmed civilians“, while the EU delegation to Myanmar said the 76th Armed Forces Day would “stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour“.
- UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked“.
- The US and UK have imposed sanctions on Myanmar’s two military conglomerates in a move that significantly ratchets up pressure on the country’s leadership.
- Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Ltd (MEHL) control significant portions of Myanmar’s economy,
- With interests across many of the country’s major industries.
- The US Treasury has now added the two companies to a blacklist, freezing any assets they have in the US and banning US individuals and businesses from trading with them.
- The UK has imposed sanctions on MEHL.
- “These actions will specifically target those who led the coup, the economic interests of the military, and the funding streams supporting the Burmese military’s brutal repression,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Will sanctions work?
- Both critics and proponents of a tougher approach agree that up until now the sanctions – which only targeted Myanmar’s top brass – have been fairly weak.
- “The Myanmar military are not going to fall down on the floor, cry and say ‘oh my god, I’ve lost my visa to the US, my life is over’. They’ll probably laugh,“ Said Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singapore diplomat
Could sanctions hurt more than they help?
- Previous sanctions on Myanmar have had a humanitarian impact.
- For example, the US state department estimated that a 2003 US ban on Burmese textile imports cost 50-60,000 jobs (although orders from the EU mitigated the effect).
- Ordinary people rather than the government could again pay the price, especially if the sanctions turn into a broader attempt to bankrupt the state.
- But human rights groups say the current sanctions are more targeted than those Myanmar faced previously, and point out that democracy activists in Myanmar are themselves boycotting military-linked companies.
Q) Tropic of Cancer does not pass through which of the following Indian states?
- West Bengal