Health workers protest in Myanmar after deadly crackdown


New corruption allegations against Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the detained former de-facto leader of Myanmar, were aired on national television on Thursday, as the military seemed to seek to strengthen the case for its February 1 coup against her government.

So far, more than 230 people have been killed in anti-coup unrest, according to a local monitoring group, as security forces have deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds against anti-coup protesters.

Her lawyer dismissed that accusation as a joke.

According to posts on social media, Thaketa was one of several areas where police fired their guns Sunday, the others including Tachileik and Taunnggyi in Shan State in eastern Myanmar, and Gangaw, a town in Magway Division in the west-central part of the country.

The 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has long held to the principle of not commenting on each other's internal affairs, but there are growing signs the Myanmar crisis is forcing a reassessment of that.

All this has instigatd ousted Myanmar lawmakers into exploring whether the International Criminal Court (ICC) can investigate any crimes against humanity committed since the military coup, as an activist group said three more people had died in clashes with security forces. Asian neighbours, led by Indonesia, have offered to help find a solution but a March 3 regional meeting failed to make headway.

Sabel, 20, said she and her widowed mother were forced at gunpoint to dismantle one street barricade in their neighbourhood.

The junta says a November 8 election won by Suu Kyi's party was fraudulent, an accusation rejected by the electoral commission.

Coup leader General Min Aung Hlaing took part in a video conference with other Southeast Asian defence chiefs, his first global engagement since seizing power, state television showed.

The coup took place as the new session of parliament was set to open.

Security forces in Myanmar shot dead an anti-coup protester Sunday, as the Australian government confirmed it is assisting two nationals who were detained after trying to leave Yangon. During that period under the junta, it was typical for military personnel across the country to order families to provide one able-bodied person to perform backbreaking work.

The bulk of the death toll came in Yangon's Hlaing Tharyar - an impoverished garment-producing township mostly housing Chinese-owned factories - where the junta later imposed martial law.

Authorities have tightened restrictions on internet services, making information increasingly hard to verify, and have clamped down on private media.

Information within Myanmar is becoming increasingly hard to verify.

"We don't intend to punish the people of Myanmar but those who blatantly violate human rights", he added.

Worldwide powers were meanwhile preparing to step up pressure on the junta. The measures would be its most significant response so far since the coup.

Parts of the military's conglomerates, Myanmar Economic Holdings Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), were expected to be targeted in coming weeks. The new sanctions would bar European Union investors and banks from doing business with them.

The EU's expected sanctions follow a USA decision last month to target the military and its business interests.

"Whatever happens in Myanmar over coming months, the economy will collapse, leaving tens of millions in dire straits and needing urgent protection", historian and author Thant Myint-U said on Twitter.

The country has been in turmoil since civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted last month.

Across the Myanmar border in Thailand's Tak province, authorities said they were preparing shelters for an influx of potential refugees.



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