'At least 89 dead' as Myanmar security forces open fire

Tires burn on a street as protests against the military coup continue in Mandalay Myanmar

Tires burn on a street as protests against the military coup continue in Mandalay Myanmar

People attend the funeral for a demonstrator killed during anti-coup protests, on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar, March 27, 2021.

A barricade, set up by protesters demonstrating against the military coup, burning in Mandalay.

"They are killing us like birds or chickens, even in our homes", said Thu Ya Zaw, a resident of the central town of Myingyan, where at least two protesters were reportedly killed.

At least 29 people, including a 13-year-old girl, were killed in Mandalay, and at least 24 people were killed in Yangon, Myanmar Now said.

The death toll in Myanmar has been steadily rising as authorities grow more forceful with their suppression of opposition to the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Myanmar Now news portal said 114 people were killed across the country in crackdowns on the protests. A one-year-old baby was hit in the eye with a rubber bullet.

The European Union delegation in Yangon called Saturday "a day of terror and dishonour", while former colonial power Britain also blasted security forces as having "disgraced themselves".

A military spokesman did not respond to calls seeking comment on the killings by security forces, the air strikes or the insurgent attack on its post.

On Friday (March 26), state media has warned that protesters risked being "shot to the head and back", without specifically say the army had been given shoot-to-kill orders.

Security forces suppressed protests across the country as the ruling junta celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade in the capital Naypyidaw.

During a speech at the parade, junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing once again defended the coup and pledged to yield power after new elections.

Myanmar military promises new elections, threatens protesters
At least 275 people have been killed since the coup, according to AAPP, though activists say the death toll is likely much higher. Her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), has been in disarray since the coup, with some of its elected MPs in hiding.

"The army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy", the general said in a live broadcast on state television, adding that authorities also sought to protect the people and restore peace across the country.

"Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate", he said in an earlier televised speech on Friday evening.

This has raised suspicions that protesters have been deliberately targeted by security forces for killing. Suu Kyi remains in detention at an undisclosed location and many other figures in her National League for Democracy party are also in custody.

Russia's deputy foreign minister was the only foreign diplomat evident at an event normally attended by scores of global officials. There were no signs of other diplomats at an event that is usually attended by scores of officials from foreign nations.

This week has seen the US and Europe impose new sanctions but support from Russian Federation, and China, has been important to the junta.

Almost 330 people have died in demonstrations against the coup - including a large number killed by direct headshots from security forces - and more than 3,000 others have been arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.

The U.S. Embassy said shots were fired Saturday at its cultural centre in Yangon, though no one was injured.

"The Myanmar Armed Forces Day isn't an armed forces day, it's more like the day they killed people", General Yawd Serk, chair of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army - South, told Reuters.

The United States has designated two entities linked to the coup leaders, Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC).

On March 26, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar Thomas Andrews called for U.N. member states to hold an "emergency summit", including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), China, the US, and the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which comprises elected members of the Myanmar parliament ousted in the February 1 coup d'état.

"It isn't for the protection of democracy as well, it's how they harm democracy.If they continue to shoot at protesters and bully the people, I think all the ethnic groups would not just stand by and do nothing".

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