The United Nations Monday condemned the use of excessive and disproportionate force against unarmed civilians in Yangon, Myanmar and called for the perpetrators to be held to account.
Five anti-coup protestors were killed and several others injured when security forces plowed a vehicle into them while firing live ammunition.
In the statement, UN Resident Coordinator in Myanmar Ramanathan Balakrishnan said: “Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and today’s action by security forces is completely unacceptable. Those responsible for excessive and disproportionate use of force against unarmed civilians must be held to account.”
Witnesses told local newspaper Myanmar Now that a “flash mob” of protestors had gathered at the site and “soldiers beat the protesters who had fallen to the ground and aimed their rifles at people watching from their apartments.” Undeterred by the attack, protestors demonstrated again at Yangon’s Hlaing Township.
State-run Global New Light of Myanmar only reported that security forces dispersed a crowd who staged an “unlawful riot” in Kyimyindine.
On Monday, former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced to four years imprisonment for incitement and breaking COVID-19 rules by the military junta. She currently faces multiple legal cases. The military maintains that the coup was necessary because her landslide victory in elections last year was obtained by voter fraud.
Protests have continued in Myanmar despite the death of over 1300 men, women and children in political violence since the military seized control of the democratically elected government on February 1, 2021.