Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the military coup in front of the Myanmar Economy Bank in Yangon on February 16, 2021.
Protesters shout slogans during a demonstration against the military coup in front of the Myanmar Economy Bank in Yangon on February 16, 2021.
AFP

At the beginning of February, communications to the capital of Myanmar were cut and the state TV went off air hours before Parliament was slated to convene for the first session since last year's election. State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and several leading politicians were detained under house arrest, and and as the world reacted with consternation, the military took over the reigns of the government once again.

It has now been over a month since the coup. And while several nations including the US have spoken out against the situation and slapped sanctions on several officials who led the recent coup, there has been to further changes to the administration.

The Myanmar junta has ignored both the mounting international pressure to restore the democratically-elected government and the civillian protests that have broken out in parts of the country. Several ousted lawmakers have even designated the military as a terrorist organisation. According to an advocacy group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), at least 126 people have been killed due to violent and arbitrary crackdowns, and casualties are drastically increasing in number.

"As of March 14, a total of 2,156 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced in relation to the attempted military coup on February 1... A total of 1,837 are still under detention or have outstanding charges/evading arrest," the AAPP said in a statement.

Over the last few weeks countless citizens - from students to medical personnel and - have taken to the streets in protest. But the repercussions have been swift and exceedingly severe. Security forces have repeatedly opened fire on demonstrators (including peaceful agitators) often using live rounds. Reports indicate that several of the slain protesters had been shot in the head, and the police have also occupied many hospitals.

The death toll has been rising at an alarming rate. Indeed, reports indicate that there were at least 38 deaths on Sunday alone as security forces intensified their crackdown against anti-coup protesters. Reports have also suggested that the police seized some bodies.

Police have been aggressively patrolling residential neighbourhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades as part of intimidation. They have also been carrying out targeted raids, taking people from their homes with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being hauled away.

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General's Special Envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener on Sunday strongly condemned the bloodshed in Myanmar, amid increasing violence following the military's crackdown on peaceful protests and its continued refusal to follow international calls for restraint, dialogue and full respect for human rights after the coup.

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