Mar 4, 2021 - World

UN rights chief: At least 54 killed, 1,700 detained since Myanmar coup

A protest in Myanmar.

A Feb. 7 protest in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images

Police and military officers in Myanmar have killed at least 54 people during anti-coup protests, while "arbitrarily" detaining over 1,700 people, United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said Thursday.

Why it matters: Protesters have demonstrating across Myanmar for nearly a month, demanding the restoration of democracy after the country's military leaders overthrew its democratically elected government on Feb. 1.

  • The death toll of the crackdown "could be much higher as these are the figures the Office has been able to verify," the UN Human Rights Office wrote in a news release.

Bachalet called for Myanmar officials to “halt their vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors,” and expressed concern over the country targeting journalists.

  • At least 29 journalists have been arrested in recent days according to reports, the UN said.

What they're saying: “It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country," Bachalet said. "I am also appalled at the documented attacks against emergency medical staff and ambulances attempting to provide care to those who have been injured.”

  • “This is the moment to turn the tables towards justice and end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar.”

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