Burmese protesters continued to resist military rule on Sunday (March 21), as protests continued to be violently suppressed by security forces and the death toll continued to rise. Two Australian citizens have been confirmed to be in detention in Myanmar.
One man was killed and at least two others were injured when military police opened fire on a group of protesters at a roadblock in the central Burmese city of Monywa on Sunday, multiple media outlets said, citing witnesses.
Police allegedly used stun grenades first and then started shooting.
The Australian Foreign Office confirmed Sunday that it is providing consular assistance to two Australian nationals in Myanmar, AFP reported. The two Australians were detained Friday while allegedly trying to leave Myanmar on a rescue flight.
An Australian Foreign Office spokeswoman said “no further details will be provided” because of the personal privacy of the citizens involved.
The two men are Matthew O’Kane and Christa Avery, business consultants with dual Canadian and Australian citizenship, according to AFP. They are currently under house arrest. They run a custom consulting firm in Yangon.
Earlier, Sean Turnell, an Australian economist, was arrested a week after the coup in Burma and remains in custody. Turnell is the first foreigner to be arrested after the military coup in Myanmar and was an advisor to Aung San Suu Kyi before his arrest.
Reuters reported that according to social media posts, candlelight protests were held in nearly 20 locations across Myanmar from Saturday night to Sunday, from the major city of Yangon to the northern state of Kachin and small communities in the southernmost town of Kawthaung.
“Mizzima News video showed hundreds of people, including many medical workers in white coats, marching before sunrise in Mandalay, the second largest city in the country, in a “dawn protest. The marchers chanted slogans against the military regime and in favor of democracy.
People continued to protest in the streets later Sunday, with police firing at crowds opposing the coup in Monywa.
A spokesman for the military government could not be reached for comment by Reuters, but the military has previously said security forces would only use force when necessary.
As of Sunday local Time, at least 248 people had been killed by military police during protests since the coup, according to the Burmese nonprofit Political Prisoners Assistance Association. More than 2,300 others have been arrested.
The Burmese military says at least two police officers have been killed in the protests.
Western countries have repeatedly condemned the coup and violence. Asian neighbors who have avoided mutual criticism for years have also begun to take a public stand.
Indonesian President Joko said Friday that the violence should stop immediately, Reuters reported. His words are considered the strongest yet from a leader in the region. Joko called for an emergency meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. Myanmar is a member of the group.
Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin backed Joko’s call, saying he was appalled by the continued use of deadly violence against civilians. Singapore has also spoken out against the violence.
So far, international condemnation from Washington, Brussels and the United Nations has not been able to stop the bloodshed in Burma.
AFP reports that EU foreign ministers are expected to approve sanctions against 11 Burmese junta officials at a meeting Monday.