Dozens of Myanmar protesters were killed in clashes with the military and police in the deadliest weekend since the February coup, sparking condemnation from governments around the world.
At least 114 people died on Saturday, including civilians who weren’t taking part in demonstrations, according to rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. Another nine deaths were reported on Sunday, it said. The death toll will likely rise in coming days as more are verified and documented, the group said.
The killings on Saturday occurred in at least 40 townships on Armed Forces Day, commemorating the army’s fight against Japan in 1945. The junta marked the holiday, formerly known as Resistance Day, with a parade in the capital Naypyidaw, where coup leader Min Aung Hlaing reiterated a promise to hold fresh elections and a transition to democracy.
Among the dead on Saturday were a 13-year-old girl, shot inside her house in the Mandalay region, and a 16-year-old boy shot while driving a motorcycle, according to the AAPP. A father of four was burned alive in Aungmyaethazan township in Mandalay, according to local media.
A dozen defense chiefs from North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific jointly condemned the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the military and associated security services.
“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting — not harming — the people it serves,” they said in a statement.
Shots were fired at the cultural American Center Yangon on Saturday, according to Aryani Manring, a spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in the country. She didn’t provide details and said the incident is being investigated.
The U.S. Ambassador to Myanmar, Thomas Vajda, tweeted that the “bloodshed is horrifying.” Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi called for the military to stop the violence, free detained political protesters and restore democracy.
The European Union’s delegation in Myanmar called Saturday a “day of terror and dishonor.”
“The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts,” the delegation said in a statement. “The European Union stands more than ever by the courageous people of Myanmar and calls for an immediate and unconditional end of all forms of violence and the restoration of democracy.”
As of Saturday, a total of 2,428 people were in detention in relation to the military coup, according to the AAPP. At least 454 people were killed as of Sunday, it said.
(Khine Lin Kyaw and Isabel Reynolds contributed to this report.)