Myanmar junta blames protesters as EU, U.S. impose sanctions
Myanmar’s military accused anti-junta protesters of arson and violence as Western countries imposed more sanctions on individuals and groups linked to last month’s coup and an ensuing brutal crackdown on dissent.
Junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said 164 protesters had been killed in the violence and expressed sadness at the deaths.
“They are also our citizens,” he told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw on Tuesday.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group says at least 261 people have been killed in the harsh crackdown by security forces.
Three people were killed in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay in unrest on Monday, including a teenage boy, witnesses and news reports said.
Security forces staged more raids in parts of Yangon on Monday night with shots fired and some people wounded, the Mizzima news service reported.
The junta has tried to justify the coup by saying a Nov. 8 election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) was fraudulent – an accusation the electoral commission rejected. Military leaders have promised a new election but have not set a date and have declared a state of emergency.
Zaw Min Tun blamed protesters for violence and arson and said nine members of the security forces had been killed.
“Can we call these peaceful protesters?” he said, while showing a video of factories on fire. “Which country or organisation would regard this violence as peaceful?”
He said strikes and hospitals not fully operating had caused deaths, including from COVID-19, calling them “undutiful and unethical”.
The spokesman also accused media of “fake news” and fanning unrest and said reporters could be prosecuted if they were in contact with the CRPH, as the remnants of Suu Kyi’s government is known locally. The military has declared the CRPH an illegal organisation…..read more