At least 138 peaceful protesters have been killed since the Feb. 1 military coup in Myanmar, the United Nations announced Monday.
38 more people were killed Sunday, mostly in one area of Yangon, the capital city of Myanmar, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the violence and called for the global community to “come together in solidarity with the people of Myanmar and their democratic aspirations.”
“The recent behavior of [Myanmar] military and security forces is deeply disturbing as it calls to mind the days and weeks leading up to the massive genocidal offensive against the Rohingya in northern Rakhine in 2017” — Yanghee Lee, former UN rapporteur. https://t.co/ud37w22NJ1 pic.twitter.com/PdvNNni2tD
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) March 15, 2021
U.N. special envoy Christine Schraner Burgener reported there were widespread killings, mistreatment of protesters, and torture of detainees over the weekend. Women and children have reportedly been among those killed, and hundreds more have been wounded. (RELATED: Increasing Protest Deaths Lead To Martial Law In Parts Of Myanmar)
Over 2,000 citizens have been detained, and nearly a third of them are children, according to UNICEF.
Citizens of Myanmar have taken to the streets in massive numbers since the military coup that ousted the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) Party. Military leaders alleged widespread voter fraud after their preferred party was defeated overwhelmingly in November elections by the NLD.
Myanmar was run as a military dictatorship until it began a transition to democracy in 2010. The country’s first democratic elections were held in 2015, but the new constitution still provided for a significant role in leadership for the military, regardless of electoral outcomes. (RELATED: Video Shows Nun On Her Knees, Begging Police To Stop Shooting Protestors)
Since the coup, the U.N. has warned of an increasingly violent military crackdown against protesters. Officials have detained journalists and cut off access to social media, however citizens of the country continue to flood the streets in protest.