Myanmar security forces opened fire Sunday on a crowd attending the funeral of student who was killed on the bloodiest day yet of a crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, local media reported. The violence on Saturday claimed lives of about 114 people which include several children under 16. The UN human rights expert has been forced by the escalating violence to accuse the junta of committing “Mass Murder” and to criticise the international community for not doing enough to stop it. Unfortunately, this has not so far stopped either the demonstrations against the February 1 takeover or the violent response of the military and police to them. Local outlet Myanmar now reported that the junta’s troops shot at mourners at the funeral in the city of Bago for Thae Maung Maung, a 20-year-old killed on Saturday.
He was reportedly a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Union, which has a long history of supporting pro-democracy movements in the country. According to the report, several people attending the funeral were arrested.
It did not say if anyone was hurt or killed. according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners at least nine people were killed elsewhere Sunday as the crackdown continued.
Some of the funerals held Sunday became themselves opportunities to demonstrate resistance to the junta.
At one in Bhamo in the northern state of Kachin, a large crowd chanted democracy slogans and raised the three-finger salute that has come to symbolize defiance of the takeover. Family and friends were paying their respects to Shwe Myint, a 36-year-old who was shot dead by security forces on Saturday.
The military had initially seized her body and refused to return it until her family signed a statement that her death was not caused by them, according to the Democratic Voice of Burma, a broadcast and online news service.
In Yangon, the country’s largest city, meanwhile, mourners flashed the three-finger salute as they wheeled the coffin of a 13-year-old boy. Sai Wai Yan was shot dead by security forces as he played outside his home.
The February 1 coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government reversed years of progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. It has again made Myanmar the focus of international scrutiny as security forces have repeatedly fired into crowds of protesters. At least 459 people have been killed since the takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The crackdown extends beyond the demonstrations: Humanitarian workers reported that the military had carried out airstrikes Sunday against guerilla fighters in the eastern part of the country.
The junta has accused some of the demonstrators of perpetrating the violence because of their sporadic use of Molotov cocktails and has said its use of force has been justified to stop what it has called rioting. While protesters have occasionally hurled firecrackers at troops and on Saturday carried bows and arrows, they remain vastly out-gunned.