Myanmar anti-coup protesters return after deadliest day

U.S. condemns Wednesday killings, Macron calls for ‘immediate end of repression’

Defiant anti-coup protesters returned to cities and towns across Myanmar on Thursday after dozens of people were killed in the deadliest day of the junta’s crackdown.

At least 38 people died on Wednesday, according to the United Nations. Online images streamed out of Myanmar showed security forces firing into crowds and blood-covered bodies of protesters with bullet wounds in their heads.

Wednesday’s violence left the United States “appalled and revulsed”, said State Department spokesman Ned Price. “We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn the brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people,” he said, referring to the country by its former name.

French President Emmanuel Macron called for an “immediate end of the repression in Myanmar”.

More than 50 people have been killed since the military takeover, UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told reporters.

On Thursday, protesters hit the streets again in Yangon and Mandalay, the nation’s two biggest cities, as well as other towns that have been hotspots for unrest.

In recent days, Yangon’s San Chaung township has descended into chaos as security forces have amassed there to stop protesters from gathering. A residential area known for its hip cafes, restaurants and bars, its streets on Thursday were transformed with barricades built out of sandbags, tyres, bricks and barbed wire. Passersby walked on images of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, which protesters plastered on the ground to slow chasing security forces who will avoid stepping on the portraits. “Yesterday was horrific … it was devastating to learn the military in Myanmar has never changed since 1962,” activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told AFP.

Six journalists were also arrested on the weekend and charged under a law prohibiting “causing fear, spreading false news, or agitating directly or indirectly a government employee”, according to their lawyer Tin Zar Oo.

However protesters, citizen journalists and some media groups continued to send images out of Myanmar, and on Thursday the funeral of a 19-year-old woman, Kyal Sin, who was killed in Mandalay, was streamed live on Facebook.

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