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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.”

Go deeper: Journalists face record levels of persecution globally

Go deeper

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. 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.

Journalists face record levels of persecution globally

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Around the world, journalists are being targeted at record levels by despots, eager to silence the press.

Why it matters: Experts worry that the United States' wavering stance on press freedoms over the past few years may have empowered autocrats looking to gain power and undermine democracy by going after journalists.

Pentagon report: Domestic extremists pose serious threat to military

Pro-Trump supporters storm the U.S. Capitol in tactical gear. Photo: Samuel Corum via Getty Images

Domestic extremists pose a serious threat to the military by attempting to recruit service members into their movement, according to a Pentagon report released Tuesday.

Why it matters: Domestic extremism in the military has become a growing concern in recent years, the report notes. It blew into a bigger issue after the Justice Department charged several former and current military members for their involvement in the Jan. 6 Capitol riots, which the FBI classified as domestic terrorism.