Australia joins worldwide condemnation of Myanmar military junta's killing of civilians

Myanmar: Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing vows to 'safeguard democracy'

"The military celebrated Armed Forces Day by committing mass murder against the people it should be defending", said Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Another 12 people were recorded dead in incidents elsewhere in Myanmar by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group on Sunday, taking its total toll of civilians killed since the February 1 coup to 459.

On Friday evening, state television announced: "You should learn from the tragedy of earlier ugly deaths that you can be in danger of getting shot to the head and back".

At least four others were killed by security forces during night raids at Pathein, Mandalay and Yangon's Thaketa Township and Naypyitaw's Tatkon.

In the capital Naypyidaw Saturday there was a grand parade of troops and military vehicles, and junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing warned in a speech that acts of "terrorism" were unacceptable.

"Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate".

Irish people living in Myanmar have now been strongly encouraged to leave the country unless they have an urgent reason to stay.

Reports from Myanmar are hard to confirm, but some local media said security forces had tried to intervene in funerals.

An anti-coup protester discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of the tear gas fired by police during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar. Most, including Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, remain detained.

The funeral ceremony was being held in a town near Myanmar's largest city Yangon, for one of the people killed on Saturday.

The anti-regime protest is attacked by security forces in Yangon’s South Dagon Township on Sunday
The anti-regime protest is attacked by security forces in Yangon’s South Dagon Township on Sunday

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been under military control since February 1.

"As the norm, the Defence Attache at the Embassy would attend the parade".

As Ms. Suu Kyi remains in detention at an unknown location, protesters have taken to the streets.

"We are shocked that the diplomats of several countries attended the Armed Forces Day ceremony even as the military has gone berserk massacring peaceful protestors", added the statement.

Britain's foreign secretary Dominic Raab called the day "a new low" for the junta, with the European Union and USA embassies also condemning the bloodshed. Its data shows that around a quarter of them died from shots to the head, raising suspicions they were targeted for killing.

Myanmar's economy is already battered by the COVID-19 pandemic, which surged there in the second half of previous year.

U.S. Ambassador Thomas Vajda said on social media: "This bloodshed is horrifying", adding "Myanmar's people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule".

A spokesperson for Myanmar's junta did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the fighting.

Figures collected by the researcher, who asked not to be named for his security, have generally tallied with the counts issued at the end of each day by the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests and is widely seen as a definitive source.

Support from Russian Federation and China, which has also refrained from criticism, is important for the junta as they are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and can block potential U.N. actions. "The Myanmar military leadership should recall that the military is an organization for protecting the lives of its people from foreign threats".

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