According to independent local media and a non-governmental organization, at least 82 people were killed in a single day in Burma when security forces cracked down on pro-democracy protesters in the city of Pegu (Bago).
The death toll (82) was compiled by the Political Prisoner Support Association, which counts daily casualties and arrests resulting from the repression following the February 1 coup in which the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi Suspended on Saturday, the group reportedly expected the death toll in Pegu (100 kilometers east of the country’s largest city, Yangon) as more cases were examined.
The news site Myanmar Now also reported the deaths of 82 people, citing an anonymous source. Myanmar Now and other local media said the bodies were collected by the military and deposited in the grounds of a Buddhist temple.
At least 701 people have been killed by security forces since the military took power, according to the Political Prisoner Assistance Association. The attack on Pegu was the third in the past week in which massive violence was used to suppress ongoing opposition to the ruling military junta.
Most of the protests in the country’s cities are carried out by peaceful protesters who are part of a civil disobedience movement. But when the police and military increased the use of lethal force, a faction of demonstrators armed themselves and some activists are already calling themselves the “civil army”.
The military junta has also taken other measures to discourage the resistance. He recently published a list of 140 people associated with the arts and journalism, accusing them of disseminating information that undermines the country’s stability and the rule of law. The penalty for the offense can be up to three years in prison. The arrests of the people on the list were widely publicized in the state media. State television broadcaster MRTV reported on Friday evening that a military court sentenced 19 people to death for allegedly killing an army officer in Yangon on March 27.
The UN special envoy for Burma, Christine Schraner Burgener, arrived in the Thai capital Bangkok on Friday on a regional mission to investigate the position of several Southeast Asian governments that have been denied permission to visit Burma.