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Chinese factories set on fire in Myanmar in deadliest day since coup




The heaviest low they were in an industrial suburb of Yangon’s largest city, where police and the military opened fire on unarmed protesters and killed at least 22, according to the advocacy group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) , who said the Hlaingthaya district “was becoming a battlefield.”

In an unverified image, a protester can be seen hugging under a makeshift shield as he holds on to the shirt of a fallen fellow protester.

At least 16 people were killed Sunday in other parts of the country, including the second city of Mandalay and Bago, where state media said a police officer had died from a chest wound after a clash with protesters, Reuters reported. This is the second policeman killed in the protests.

The death toll from the weekend brings the death toll from the coup to at least 126 people, according to the AAPP.

The Chinese embassy in Myanmar said several Chinese-funded factories were destroyed and set on fire in the Yangon industrial zone during protests on Sunday. Chinese citizens were also injured, according to the embassy

It is unclear who the perpetrators were and no group has claimed responsibility for the fires.

“China urges Myanmar to take additional effective measures to stop all acts of violence, punish perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel in Myanmar,” he quoted CGTN in the embassy statement.

Protesters against the coup have been suspicious of China, with frequent demonstrations targeting the Chinese embassy in Yangon and protesters accusing Beijing of supporting the coup and the junta.

While China has not fully condemned the military takeover, it backed a UN Security Council statement saying it “strongly condemns violence against peaceful protesters” and called on the military to “exercise maximum moderation “.

In its statement on Sunday, China called on protesters in Myanmar to legally express their demands and not to undermine bilateral ties with China.

Smoke is rising as protests against the military coup and the arrest of elected members of the government continue in Hlaingtharya Municipality, Yangon, on March 14.

After the bloodshed, the military junta imposed martial law on Hlaingthaya, one of the city’s largest districts that houses many poor factory workers, according to state-run MRTV news channel. Local media reported that martial law has also been declared in Yangon’s Shwepyithar district. On Monday, the military declared martial law in four other municipalities in Yangon: North Dagon, North Okkalapa, South Dagon and Dagon Seikkan, areas where most of the city’s factories are located.

Martial law under the Junta regime means the military commander of the Yangon region has “full administrative and judicial authority” in the districts where martial law is declared, according to local media Myanmar Now.

Mobile networks remained “disabled nationwide” despite the restoration of Internet connectivity on Monday after a stoppage for the 29th consecutive night, according to Internet monitoring service NetBlocks. Protesters and journalists have relied on their mobile phones to broadcast live demonstrations and document police crackdowns.

“People have the right to defend themselves”

As protests continue across Myanmar, the leader of a group of lawmakers ousted by the military has vowed to pursue a “revolution” to overthrow the ruling board.

Speaking for the first time on Saturday, Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was speaker of the upper house of parliament before the coup, said in a video address on Facebook: “This is the darkest moment in the nation. and the moment dawn breaks. “

Mahn Win Khaing Than, along with other lawmakers expelled from the ruling party of the National League for Democracy (NLD), remains hidden. With civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint under house arrest, former lawmakers have formed a parallel civilian government (called the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Representation Committee (CRPH)) that is pushing for international recognition as a legitimate government.

“In order to form a federal democracy, which all ethnic brothers, who have been suffering various kinds of oppressions from the dictatorship for decades, really wanted, this revolution is an opportunity to unite our efforts,” he said. Mahn Win Khaing Than, who is an ethnic Karen, said.

He also said the civilian government “would try to legislate the required laws so that people have the right to defend themselves” against military repression, Reuters reported.

The military considers the CRPH illegal and has warned that anyone found cooperating with them will face treason charges. According to Reuters, the CRPH has declared Myanmar’s army a “terrorist organization”.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener issued a statement condemning the “continued bloodshed in the country as the military defies international calls, including those from the Security Council, for restraint, dialogue and full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms “.

“The special envoy has personally heard contacts in Myanmar heartbreaking accounts of killings, ill-treatment of protesters and torture of prisoners over the weekend,” he said.

As of Sunday there had been 2,156 people detained, accused or sentenced in connection with the military coup, according to the AAPP and about 100 protesters (including students and youth) were arrested on Sunday in repression.

Why is Myanmar protesting?

The protests have been going on for more than a month in Myanmar since the military took power in a coup on February 1, arrested democratically elected leaders, dismissing the ruling government and establishing a board called the State Board of Directors.
The military, led by coup general Min Aung Hlaing, justified his takeover alleging widespread electoral fraud during the November 2020 general election, which gave Suu Kyi’s party another overwhelming victory and shattered the hopes of some military figures that an opposition party they had defended could take power democratically.

The now-reformed electoral commission denied there was evidence of massive electoral fraud.

It was only the second democratic vote since the previous military junta launched a series of reforms in 2011, after half a century of brutal military rule that plunged Myanmar, then known as Burma, into poverty and isolationism.

Family and friends react during the funeral procession of Ko Saw Pyae Naing, 21, who died in protests against the coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, on March 14.
Protesters are demanding that military power return power to civilian control and demand the release of Suu Kyi and other government figures. Myanmar is many ethnic groups, who have long fought for greater autonomy for their lands, also demand that the 2008 constitution written by the military be abolished and a federal democracy be established.
In addition to the protests, a civil disobedience movement he has seen thousands of white and blue workers, from doctors, bankers and lawyers to teachers, engineers and factory workers, abandon their jobs as a form of resistance to the coup.
In recent weeks, the military has done just that intensified his response in protests, launching systematic nationwide repression in which security forces have opened fire on protesters. Amnesty International said the military was using increasingly lethal tactics and weapons that are commonly seen on the battlefield against peaceful protesters and passers-by, and that troops – documented to have committed human rights abuses in conflict zones – have deployed in the streets. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar said the army’s “brutal response” to peaceful protests “probably meets the legal threshold for crimes against humanity.”

Despite the danger, thousands of young protesters have continued to challenge the military. Demonstrations are dominated by young people who have grown up with a level of democracy and political and economic freedoms that their parents or grandparents did not have, and they say they are fighting for their future.

CNN’s Hira Humayun and Richard Roth contributed to the information.