NAYPYIDAW(MYANMAR) – While the military coup happening in Myanmar has compelled the ousted lawmakers to explore the possibilities of International Criminal Court investigating crimes against humanity, Myanmar security forces shot dead one opponent of military rule.
Military and police have used increasingly violent tactics to suppress demonstrations by supporters of detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi but that has not put off the protests, with crowds out again in several towns.
Security forces used teargas to disperse protesters in the central town of Aungban and later opened fire, media and a witness reported.
“Security forces came to remove barriers but the people resisted and they fired shots,” one witness, who declined to be identified, said from the town by telephone.
The witness said he saw one person killed but had heard of more. The Kanbawza Tai news portal said on Facebook six people had been killed.
Police in the main city of Yangon forced people to clear protesters’ barricades, residents said, while demonstrators were also out in the second city of Mandalay, the central towns of Myingyan and Katha, and the eastern town of Myawaddy, witnesses and media reported.
The total number killed in weeks of unrest has risen to at least 224, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group said earlier.
A junta spokesman has said security forces have used force only when necessary but critics have derided that explanation.
Myanmar’s UN envoy, who publicly broke with the junta, said a committee of ousted lawmakers was looking at ways people can be held accountable for violence following the coup.
“The ICC is one of them,” Kyaw Moe Tun told an event in New York. “We are not a state party to the ICC, but we need to … explore the ways and means to bring the case to the ICC.”
In Geneva, United Nations human rights experts denounced forced evictions, arbitrary detentions and the killings of pro-democracy protesters. They said foreign governments should consider pursuing those responsible for crimes against humanity.
Hundreds have fled towns and cities since the coup and are sheltering in areas controlled by ethnic minority militias on the Thai border, an official from one group said.