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Pro-junta group attacks anti-coup protesters as Myanmar crisis escalates

Yangon, Myanmar — Members of a gaggle supporting Myanmar’s navy junta attacked and injured folks protesting Thursday in opposition to the military’s February 1 seizure of energy that ousted the elected authorities of Aung San Suu Kyi. At the least a number of folks had been injured within the assaults in Myanmar’s largest metropolis.

The chaos complicates an already intractable standoff between the navy and a protest motion that has been staging large-scale demonstrations every day to have Suu Kyi’s authorities restored to energy. It comes as social media big Fb mentioned it was banning all accounts linked to Myanmar’s navy, reacting particularly, it mentioned, to “lethal violence” within the nation.

Photographs and movies on social media confirmed the assaults and injured folks in downtown Yangon as police stood by with out intervening. The attackers fired slingshots and carried iron rods, knives and different sharp implements.

A widely-circulated video confirmed one man stabbed in entrance of an workplace constructing close to a significant downtown intersection on the highway to Sule Pagoda, a significant venue for anti-coup protests. The variety of injured folks and their situation couldn’t instantly be realized.

In accordance with accounts and photographs posted on social media, the scenario started with a march of a whole lot of individuals in help of the coup. They carried banners in English with the slogans “We Stand With Our Protection Providers” and “We Stand With State Administration Council,” which is the official identify of the brand new junta.

English has been extensively used for indicators and posters and on-line memes by the anti-coup demonstrators in an evident effort to win worldwide help.

Stories mentioned the pro-military marchers had been jeered by bystanders close to the town’s Central Railway station and responded by firing slingshots, throwing stones at them after which chasing them down. Video reveals pro- and anti-coup crowds at that location.

Supporters of the navy have gathered within the streets earlier than, particularly within the days instantly earlier than and after the coup, however had not used violence so overtly.

Critics of the navy cost its pays folks to have interaction in violence, allegations which might be onerous to confirm. Such confrontations jeopardize exterior diplomatic efforts to assist resolve Myanmar’s disaster via dialogue.

Fb bans navy accounts 

Social media big Fb introduced Thursday it was banning all accounts linked to Myanmar’s navy in addition to advertisements from military-controlled firms within the wake of the military’s seizure of energy on February 1.

It mentioned in a press release that it was treating the post-coup scenario in Myanmar as an “emergency,” explaining that the ban was precipitated by occasions for the reason that coup, together with “lethal violence.”

Fb already has banned a number of military-linked accounts for the reason that coup, together with army-controlled Myawaddy TV and state tv broadcaster MRTV. The bans additionally apply to Instagram, which is owned by Fb.

Fb and different social media platforms got here beneath huge criticism in 2017 when proper teams mentioned they did not act sufficient to cease hate speech in opposition to Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority.

The military launched a brutal counterinsurgency operation that yr that drove greater than 700,000 Rohingya to to hunt security in neighboring Bangladesh, the place they continue to be in refugee camps. Myanmar safety forces burned down villages, killed civilians and engaged in mass rape, actions the World Courtroom is investigating as constituting genocide.

The junta has tried to dam Fb and different social media platforms, however its efforts have confirmed ineffective. For greater than per week it has additionally turned off entry to the web nightly from 1 a.m.

The navy says it took energy as a result of final November’s election was marked by widespread voting irregularities, an assertion that was refuted by the state election fee, whose members have since been changed by the ruling junta.

The junta has mentioned it would rule for a yr beneath a state of emergency after which maintain recent elections.

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