Myanmar Forces Kill 82 in Single Day 04/11 09:11
YANGON (AP) -- At least 82 people were killed in one day in a crackdown by
Myanmar security forces on pro-democracy protesters, according to reports
Saturday from independent local media and an organization that keeps track of
casualties since the February coup.
Friday's death toll in Bago was the biggest one-day total for a single city
since March 14, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country's
biggest city. Bago is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Yangon. The
Associated Press is unable to independently verify the number of deaths.
The death toll of 82 was a preliminary one compiled by the Assistance
Association for Political Prisoners, which issues daily counts of casualties
and arrests from the crackdown in the aftermath of the Feb. 1 coup that ousted
the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Their tallies are widely accepted as highly credible because cases are not
added until they have been confirmed, with the details published on their
In its Saturday report, the group said that it expected the number of dead
in Bago to rise as more cases were verified.
The online news site Myanmar Now also reported that 82 people had been
killed, citing an unnamed source involved with charity rescue work. Myanmar Now
and other local media said the bodies had been collected by the military and
dumped on the grounds of a Buddhist pagoda.
At least 701 protesters and bystanders have been killed by security forces
since the army's takeover, according to the Assistance Association for
The attack on Bago was the third in the past week involving the massive use
of force to try to crush the persistent opposition to the ruling junta.
Attacks were launched Wednesday on hardcore opponents of military rule who
had set up strongholds in the towns of Kalay and Taze in the country's north.
In both places, at least 11 people -- possibly including some bystanders --
were reported killed.
The security forces were accused of using heavy weapons in their attacks,
including rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, though such allegations could
not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press. Photos posted on social
media from Bago appeared to show fragments of mortar shells.
Most protests in cities and town around the country are carried out by
nonviolent demonstrators who consider themselves part of a civil disobedience
But as the police and military escalated the use of lethal force, a hardcore
faction of protesters armed themselves with homemade weapons such as firebombs
in the name of self-defense. In Kalay, activists dubbed themselves a "civil
army" and some equipped themselves with rudimentary hunting rifles that are
traditional in the remote area.
A report by Myanmar Now said residents of Tamu, a town in the same region as
Kalay, used hunting rifles Saturday to ambush a military convoy, and claimed to
kill three soldiers.
The junta has taken other measures as well to discourage resistance. It
recently published a wanted list of 140 people active in the arts and
journalism charged with spreading information that undermines the stability of
the country and the rule of law. The penalty for the offense is up to three
years' imprisonment. Arrests of those on the list have been highly publicized
in state media.
State television channel MRTV reported Friday night that a military court
had sentenced to death 19 people -- 17 in absentia -- for allegedly killing an
army officer in Yangon on March 27. The attack took place in an area of the
city that is under martial law, and the court action appeared to be the first
time the death sentence has been imposed under the junta's rule.
The U.N. special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, arrived
Friday in the Thai capital Bangkok on a regional mission to resolve the crisis
in Myanmar. She intends to sound out several Southeast Asian governments for
their ideas but has been denied permission to visit Myanmar.