On the bloodiest day on Sunday, the Myanmar security forces opened fire on the peaceful protesters killing at least 18 people and leaving more than 30 others injured, according to the UN human rights office.
“Throughout the bloodiest day, in several locations throughout the country, police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force,” said a statement from UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani.
The statement called on the military to “immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters.”
Meanwhile, the new US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, tweeted, “We stand in solidarity with the people of Burma, who have displayed determination and courage in rejecting this military coup,” as she used another name for Myanmar. She also said, “We stand with them as they call for a return to peace, democratic governance, and rule of law.”
People mourn at the site where a young man died during a protest against the military coup, in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday.
Police use ammunition
Witnesses say police used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and in some cases live ammunition in the country’s biggest city, Yangon. According to the Associated Press, photos of shell cases from live ammunition were posted on social media.
Police also aggressively sought to break up protests in other cities, including Mandalay and Dawei.
Popular protests have been staged across Myanmar on a daily basis since the military detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the civilian government last month, claiming widespread fraud in last November’s election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide.
The junta has declared a one-year state of emergency. Its commander, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, has pledged that new elections will be held to bring about a “true and disciplined democracy,” but did not specify when they would take place.
Myanmar’s electoral commission denied the military’s claims of election fraud. The United States and other Western nations have demanded the release of Suu Kyi and her lieutenants and called on the junta to restore power to the civilian government.