Myanmar forces level fire tear gas, stun grenades on protest
NAYPYIDAW (MYANMAR) – Myanmar security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to break up a protest in Yangon on Saturday. A United Nations special envoy urged for the Security Council to take action against the ruling junta for the killings of protesters.
Protests were staged across Myanmar on Saturday and local media reported that police aimed tear gas shells and stun grenades to disperse a protest in the Sanchaung district of Yangon.
More than 50 protesters have been killed as per the United Nations. At least 38 died on Wednesday alone.
“How much more can we allow the Myanmar military to get away with?” Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener told a closed meeting of the 15-member UN Security Council on Friday, according to a copy of her remarks.
“It is critical that this council is resolute and coherent in putting the security forces on notice and standing with the people of Myanmar firmly, in support of the clear November election results.”
The army says it has been dealing with the protests with much restraint, but has said it will not allow them to pose threat against its stability.
On Saturday, in the southern town of Dawei, protesters were seen chanting “Democracy is our cause” and “The revolution must prevail”.
One protest leader, Ei Thinzar Maung, wrote on Facebook, “Political hope has begun to shine. We can’t lose the momentum of the revolution. Those who dare to fight will have victory. We deserve victory.”
At least one man was killed by security forces in protests on Friday. An official from Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) and his teenage nephew were also killed by military supporters, local media reported.
The killing of protesters has invited international outrage.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a tweet, calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other detainees and for bringing back democracy, “Use of violence against the people of Myanmar must stop now.”
The United States and some other Western countries have implemented limited sanctions on the junta and independent UN human rights investigator on Myanmar, Thomas Andrews, has urged for a global arms embargo and targeted economic sanctions.
Diplomats said sanctions were not likely to be considered anytime soon as such measures would probably be resisted by China and Russia, which have veto powers.
China’s UN Ambassador Zhang Jun said, according to remarks released after the UN meeting, “All parties should exercise utmost calm and restraint,” “We don’t want to see instability, even chaos in Myanmar.”
On Friday, protesters put forth four demands, the end of the junta, the freedom of the detainees, democracy and the abolition of the 2008 constitution.