Myanmar coup kills more than 500 in two months, rebel forces threaten to retake arms

Since the Burmese army seized power on Feb. 1, the crackdown on the civil protest movement has escalated, killing at least 500 people in two months. In the face of the army’s brutality, several Burmese ethnic minority rebel forces threatened to take up arms again on February 30. The International Federation for Human Rights fears that the situation in Burma is headed toward an all-out civil war.

The Burmese army has continued to confront the civilian protest movement since February 1, when it overthrew the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi and came to power, and has escalated its repressive tactics. On the 27th, hundreds of people were killed by the army’s bullets. According to figures from the Burmese NGO Concern Group for Political Prisoners, 510 people have been killed in the two-month crackdown, including many university students and minors. The group believes the actual number of deaths may be higher. The whereabouts of hundreds of arrested people are unknown.

But the protests did not stop there, and on the 30th, there were calls for a litter strike, calling on residents to throw garbage on the roads and blocking major traffic routes. Some of the main roads in Yangon, a major economic town, are already littered with garbage.

In the face of the army’s bloody crackdown, some ethnic minority armed groups have threatened the military government. The Rakhine National Army, which has thousands of men and is well-equipped, said on 30 that if the army continues to shoot people, they will cooperate with the demonstrators and launch a counterattack.

Myanmar is a multi-ethnic country, and many ethnic groups have been fighting against the central government for years, demanding autonomy. In recent years, the government has reached a ceasefire with some of these groups. But on the 27th, Karen forces in the southeast were bombed by government forces. This is the first Time in the last 20 years that the region has been hit by government airstrikes.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) told AFP that if the army insists on not giving in to the peaceful protesters, the protesters may turn to these ethnic groups for help. He fears Myanmar could be headed for an all-out civil war.

The escalating crackdown by Myanmar’s military government has prompted condemnation from the U.S. and European governments. The U.K. has requested a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the situation in Burma. The Security Council meeting will be held behind closed doors on the 31st. But the divergent positions of member states may continue to embolden the Burmese military regime.

Russia expressed concern about the situation in Burma on Monday, March 29. China, for its part, has not spoken since March 14, when it took a position on the attacks on Chinese businesses. The latest news on the Chinese Embassy‘s webpage in Myanmar is that Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with the Sri Lankan president on March 29. The webpage has no further news on the situation in Myanmar since March 14.