Updated Mar 27, 2021 - World

Myanmar security forces kill more than 100 in deadliest day since coup

Protesters demonstrating against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 27.

Protesters demonstrating against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 27. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Myanmar security forces on Saturday killed more than 100 people, including children, during anti-coup protests, several news agencies reported.

Why it matters: It's the bloodiest day of protests since the military last month overthrew the country's democratically elected government and comes as Myanmar’s military celebrates the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the country's capital, Naypyidaw.

Context: Protesters have rallied in cities across the country for almost two months, demanding that democracy be restored.

  • The military junta now running the country has repeatedly used lethal force against civilians to maintain power.

What they're saying: During the armed forces parade, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the chief of the junta now in control of the country, claimed that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy, according to Reuters.

  • However, state television warned protesters on Friday night that they risked being shot “in the head and back” if they demonstrated during the national holiday.
  • "We are receiving reports of scores killed, incl. children, 100s injured across 40 locations, & mass arrests," the United Nations Human Rights office tweeted Saturday. "This violence is compounding the illegitimacy of the coup & the culpability of its leaders."

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Vajda said in a statement Saturday that "security forces are murdering unarmed civilians, including children, the very people they swore to protect."

  • "This bloodshed is horrifying. These are not the actions of a professional military or police force," he added.
  • "Myanmar’s people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule. We call for an immediate end to the violence and the restoration of the democratically elected government."

The big picture: The deaths on Saturday increase the number of civilians reported killed by security forces since the coup to well over 400.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

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