Mar 3, 2021 - World

UN envoy: At least 38 anti-coup protesters killed by Myanmar security forces

Anti-coup protesters gathered in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 3.

Anti-coup protesters gathered in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 3. Photo: Stringer/Getty Images

At least 38 people were killed by security forces in anti-coup protests in numerous cities throughout Myanmar on Wednesday, Christine Schraner Burgener, United Nation secretary-general special envoy to Myanmar, announced at a press conference.

Why it matters: It was the bloodiest day in Myanmar since the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1. In total, more than 50 people have died since the start of the coup.

Context: Protesters have demonstrated in cities across Myanmar for almost a month, demanding that the coup that ended the country's transition to democracy be reversed.

  • However, the military junta now running the country has no intention of backing down, claiming the protesters are "inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life."

The big picture: Recent footage from Myanmar reviewed by the New York Times shows soldiers and police officers shooting into groups of protestors with shotguns and rifles that are capable of firing both lethal and less-lethal munitions.

  • Some of the videos, which were also reviewed by medical professionals, show civilians suffering from what appeared to be gunshot wounds from lethal munitions.
  • The UN announced that at least 18 people were killed and 30 more injured during protests in the country on Sunday.

What they're saying: "Many are wounded," special envoy Schraner Burgener said Wednesday.

  • "I saw very disturbing video clips today. One was police beating a volunteer medical crew. They were not armed," she added.
  • "Another video clip showed a protester taken away by police, and they shot him from maybe only one meter away. He didn't resist his arrest, and it seems he died on the street."
  • "All together, we have around 1,200 people detained, and many families do not know where members of their families are detained or if they are healthy or not."
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