Protesters took to the streets of several towns in Myanmar on Thursday (4), after the most violent day since the military coup. The protests were put down by the police with guns and tear gas. According to the UN, police killed 38 people during Wednesday’s protests (3).
Michelle Bachelet, the UN human rights chief, demanded that security forces end what she called “a cruel crackdown on peaceful protesters.” She said more than 1,700 people had been arrested, including 29 journalists.
UN human rights investigator in Myanmar Thomas Andrews urged the Security Council – which will meet this Friday (5) to discuss the situation – to impose a global arms embargo and economic sanctions against the military junta in charge of the country.
In a report, Andrews says other countries should impose sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise, which is under military control and is the country’s largest source of revenue. According to Reuters, the military in charge attempted to move around $ 1 billion, an amount held by the Federal Reserve (US central bank) in New York.
This attempt comes a few days after the coup d’état of February 1. However, according to three sources familiar with the matter, US government officials have frozen the fund indefinitely. In addition, the US government department of commerce has established trade barriers for Myanmar government ministries, including defense. The barriers will be lifted until Monday (8).
Ned Price, a spokesperson for the US State Department, said Washignton would take further action in response to increased violence following the coup that kidnapped Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, of the post for which she was elected. In Myanmar, activists refuse to accept military command and the promise of new elections. They demand the release of Suu Kyi and the recognition of his victory in the elections.
“We know we can still get shot and die, but there is no point in staying alive under the junta,” activist Maung Saungkha told Reuters.