Myanmar death toll mounts to 550 amid protests, military crackdown

New Civilian Government Formed in Myanmar to Counter Military Regime

Myanmar has been rocked by protests since the army overthrew Suu Kyi's elected government on February 1 citing unsubstantiated claims of fraud in a November election that her party swept.

After weeks of overnight cutoffs of internet access, Myanmar's military on Friday shut all links apart from those using fiberoptic cable, which was working at drastically reduced speeds.

Across the country, demonstrators left bouquets of flowers, many with messages of defiance, at places associated with activists killed by the security forces. It was offering fiberoptic service of up to 40 megabits per second in its packages as of Friday, well below high-speed access, which is a minimum of 100 Mbps.

The 2008 constitution ensured that the military maintained its dominance by reserving it enough seats in the legislature to block any charter changes and by retaining control of key government ministries.

The military did not announce or explain its order to telecom firms to cut wireless broadband, which adds to a ban on mobile data through which a nationwide movement has mobilised on social media and spread images of the junta's lethal suppression of mostly youth-led protests.

Noh Ji-young, a spokesperson for Shinhan Bank, said the woman was shot in the head while commuting home from work on Wednesday and was pronounced dead on Friday.

Her lawyers have said the charges she faces were trumped up. They then marched through the streets chanting slogans calling for the fall of the junta, the release of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the return of democracy.

Western countries have condemned the bloodshed and Australia has suspended military co-operation with Myanmar and redirected aid to non-government organisations in response. It said it had previously restricted business.

German company Giesecke+Devrient, which supplies raw materials to Myanmar's central bank for the production of banknotes, announced yesterday it was suspending deliveries.

"These violent actions by the military are completely unacceptable and require a strong message from the worldwide community", Britain's Ambassador to the United Nations, Barbara Woodward, said in a virtual press briefing after the council session.

A 5-year-old boy died over the weekend and a 12-year-old girl suffered facial injuries after being hit with bomb shrapnel, according to Free Burma Rangers, a relief organization. The airstrikes prompted thousands of people to flee through the jungle and over the border into neighboring Thailand.

"The Myanmar military has sunk to a new low with the wanton killing of innocent people, including children", British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

The UN Human Rights Office for Southeast Asia called on countries in the region "to protect all people fleeing violence and persecution in the country" and "ensure that refugees and undocumented migrants are not forcibly returned", UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in NY. The press statement was unanimous but weaker than a draft that would have expressed its "readiness to consider further steps", which could include sanctions.

Myanmar activists defied crackdown while burning copies of a military-framed constitution on Thursday.

In a statement issued via state media on Friday evening, the military hit back against the United Nations secretary-general's special envoy on Myanmar, who said on Wednesday that "a bloodbath is imminent".

Myanmar's border regions are largely controlled by various ethnic armed groups that have long agitated for greater autonomy.

Authorities issued warrants for 18 celebrities, including social media influencers and two journalists, under a law against material meant to cause a member of the armed forces to mutiny or disregard their duty, state media reported late on Friday. Even in times of peace, relations have been strained and cease-fires fragile.



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