Defence chiefs from 12 nations slam Myanmar violence

Nay Pyi Taw, March 28 (IANS) Defence chiefs from 12 countries condemned the Myanmar military’s violence against peaceful protesters in a joint statement issued on Sunday.
The US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Greece, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Japan issued the statement a day after dozens of people of people were killed in the deadliest day of protests in Myanmar since the February 1 military coup, reports dpa news agency.
“We condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services,” the statement read.
The military chiefs urged Myanmar’s armed forces to cease violence and work to “restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions”.
“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves.”
Myanmar’s military celebrated Armed Forces Day with parades and speeches on Saturday, despite the growing toll and threats amid protests, demanding that the democratically-elected government of former de facto leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi be returned to power.
The Army has had her under house arrest since February 1.
Besides being accused of a variety of crimes, the Army recently alleged tampering in the November 8, 2020, vote that saw her National League for Democracy (NLD) return to power, but has provided no proof.
While it is impossible to independently verify the death toll because of Myanmar’s crackdown on journalists, a tally by the independent Myanmar Now news portal reported 114 killed in 44 towns and cities.
A count by the Irrawaddy newspaper put the toll at 59 dead, among them three children aged 7, 10 and 13 years.

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