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Many dead in protests in Myanmar



In Myanmar, security forces continue to crack down on those taking part in the mass protests. There are said to be numerous deaths. Journalists are also becoming increasingly targeted by the military.

The nationwide mass protests against the military junta in Myanmar continue unabated - despite massive violence by the security forces. According to agency reports, at least 18 people were said to have been shot dead by security forces, including in the city of Mandalay and the former capital Yangon.

Shocking photos of corpses covered in blood are circulating on social networks. It is feared that the number of victims will continue to rise. Dozens of demonstrators are said to have been injured, some seriously.

Six journalists charged

Journalists are also the target of intimidation by the military. Six press workers were charged with reporting the protests. Among them is a photographer from the US news agency AP, as his lawyer announced. Photographer Thein Zaw was arrested on Saturday when he was reporting on a demonstration in Yangon.

The media workers were accused under a law against "triggering fear, spreading false news and inciting government employees". The military junta changed the law last month and increased the maximum sentence from two to three years in prison.

According to the Organization Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 1200 people have been arrested since the coup, including 34 journalists. The actual number of arrests could, however, be much higher: According to state media, more than 1,300 people are said to have been taken into custody on Sunday alone.

UN Security Council should advise

In view of the ongoing violence, the UN Security Council is due to discuss the crisis again. As several diplomats unanimously reported, Great Britain requested a meeting in New York on Friday. Also on Wednesday there were appeals to the United Nations in social networks to help the country.

The military had put a coup against the de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi at the beginning of February. The 75-year-old won the parliamentary elections in November by a clear margin. She has been under house arrest since then and has to answer in court on various allegations. The demonstrators are demanding the reinstatement of the former icon of freedom and a return to the democratization process that the country began ten years ago.

Schäuble expresses solidarity

In Germany, Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble expressed solidarity with his counterparts in Myanmar in a published letter: "On behalf of the German Bundestag, I assure you and all parliamentarians suffering from repression in Myanmar my sincere sympathy and solidarity, also with a view to the intensive bilateral relations of our parliaments in recent years. "

Schäuble called the military coup illegal. He very much hopes "that the appeals from the international community to the military leadership in Myanmar, which has illegally put an abrupt end to the democratic change in your country, will fall on fertile ground."

Pope Francis condemns oppression

Pope Francis also expressed concern about the conflict again: "I want to remind those in charge that dialogue is better than repression," wrote the head of the Catholic Church on Twitter.

He appealed to the international community not to ignore the concerns of the people of Myanmar. In February, Francis had requested, among other things, the immediate release of arrested politicians.

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