Martial law was imposed in towns across Burma after the country’s bloodiest day since last month’s military coup that resulted in the deaths of at least 39 pro-democracy protesters, according to a report.
Reuters, citing the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group, reported that the 22 protesters were killed in a suburb of Yangon, the country’s largest city and 16 in other locations across the country.
A photojournalist who witnessed the shootings in Hlaingthaya, a suburb of the city, told Reuters, “It was horrible. People were shot before my eyes. It will never leave my memory.”
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Protests have broken out across the country after the Feb. 1 military coup that disposed of the country’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi. The military claimed widespread fraud during the November election that saw her party, the National League for Democracy, carry 80% of the parliamentary seats.
Protests have broken out ever since the coup and the Biden administration has imposed sanctions on the country’s generals. The sanctions have seemed to have little effect on the bloodshed and the country’s military. Last month, China blocked U.N. condemnation over the coup.
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The military has also faced rebuke from its close trade partner Singapore for opening fire on its own people. Prior to Sunday’s crackdown, reports indicated that about 70 protesters have been killed.
“They used machine guns and were constantly firing at people,” May Myat Noe, 21, told Reuters.