The United States is “appalled” by the bloodshed in Myanmar, Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken said on Saturday after the country’s bloodiest day of protest since last month’s military coup.
The violent crackdown on protesters by security forces in Myanmar has shown that the junta “will sacrifice people’s lives to serve the few,” Blinken said in one Tweet.
“The brave people of Burma reject the military’s reign of terror,” he added, using the name by which the country was known until it was changed in 1989 by its then military rulers.
His conviction came after dozens of people were killed in the military crackdown on Saturday when the military took control of the country on February 1, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The online news site Myanmar Now reported late Saturday that the death toll had reached at least 114, including a 13-year-old girl. Independent Monitoring Group, Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, Put The death toll on Saturday At the age of 90, 423 people have been killed since the coup began.
NBC News was unable to independently verify these numbers.
Despite the violence, protesters returned to the streets on Sunday to reiterate their calls for a return to democracy in Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s two largest cities, and across the country. Some of the demonstrations were held again by police as funerals took place across the country for those killed on Saturday.
In a strongly worded Explanation On Saturday, US Ambassador to Myanmar Thomas Vajda accused the country’s security forces of “murdering unarmed civilians, including children, the very people they were trying to protect”.
“These are not the actions of a professional military or police force,” Vajda said. “Myanmar’s people have made it clear: They don’t want to live under military rule.”
The US embassy said in a Tweet These shots were fired at his Yangon Cultural Center on Saturday, although no one was injured.
A joint statement by the defense chiefs of 12 countries, including the US, Germany, UK and Japan, also condemned the violence. “We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to stop the violence and work to restore the respect and credibility of the Myanmar people who have lost them through their actions.” Statement said.
In a tweet, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin called reports of the violence “Deeply unsettling.”
However, United Nations Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews called for “robust, coordinated action” rather than words of condemnation to stop the bloodshed in a statement They “sound hollow to the people of Myanmar as the military junta mass murder them.”
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The crackdown came as the Myanmar military celebrated the annual armed forces holiday with a parade in the country’s capital.
Junta’s chief general Min Aung Hlaing was not referring directly to the protest movement when he televised his Armed Forces Day speech in front of thousands of soldiers in Naypyitaw on Saturday. He only referred to “terrorism which can harm the peace and social security of the state” and called it unacceptable.
Over the past few days, the junta has portrayed protesters as the perpetrators of violence for their sporadic use of Molotov cocktails.
Some protesters were seen carrying bows and arrows in Yangon on Saturday.
In contrast, security forces allegedly used live ammunition for weeks against the still largely unarmed and peaceful crowds.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.