The families of dozens of people killed in demonstrations against military rule in Myanmar have attended funerals on the same day as one man was shot dead after protesters defied security forces.
- Thirty-one funerals were held at one Yangon crematorium on Tuesday
- Some of the mourners vowed to continue to fight for democracy
- The cost of rice and other food products has risen sharply due to strikes
A crematorium in Yangon reported 31 funerals on Tuesday, a mourner at one of the ceremonies said.
Hundreds of young people spilled out on to the street at the funeral of medical student Khant Nyar Hein who was killed in Yangon on Sunday, the bloodiest day of the protests.
“Let them kill me right now, let them kill me instead of my son because I can’t take it anymore,” the student’s mother was seen saying in a video clip posted on Facebook.
Mourners, including many fellow medical students in white lab coats, chanted: “Our revolution must prevail.”
Some families told media the security forces had seized the bodies of victims, but they would still hold a funeral.
The political and economic crisis over the February 1 overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government could also force the poor into hunger as food and fuel prices rise, the United Nations food agency said.
Security forces shot dead at least 20 people on Monday after 74 were killed a day earlier, including many in a suburb of Yangon where Chinese-financed factories were torched, according to advocacy group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
At least 184 people have been killed by the security forces in the weeks of protests, the AAPP said, with the toll rising as one protester was shot dead in the central town of Kawlin.
People held up pictures of Suu Kyi and called for an end to the repression during a small protest in the southern town of Dawei on Tuesday, the Dawei Watch media outlet reported. There was no report of violence.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was appalled by the escalating violence and called on the international community to help end the repression, his spokesman said, while the United States also denounced the bloodshed.
“The military is attempting to overturn the results of a democratic election and is brutally repressing peaceful protesters,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told a news conference in Tokyo.
UN calls to ‘stop killing’
State broadcaster MRTV said martial law had been imposed in parts of Yangon and military commanders would take over administration of districts and courts.
The UN human rights office said some 37 journalists had been arrested, including 19 who remained in detention, while “deeply distressing” reports of torture in custody had emerged and five people were known to have died in detention.
“We call on the military to stop killing and detaining protesters,” the office’s spokeswoman, Ravina Shamdasani, said in Geneva.
Strikes spike food prices
A civil disobedience campaign of strikes is paralysing large parts of the economy and could undermine the ability of poor families to feed themselves, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) warned.
The WFP said the price of rice was up as much as 35 per cent in parts of the north and prices of cooking oil and pulses were also higher, while the cost of fuel had risen by 15 per cent since February 1.
“These rising food and fuel prices are compounded by the near paralysis of the banking sector, slowdowns in remittances, and widespread limits on cash availability,” the WFP said.
The army took power after its accusations of fraud in a November 8 election won by Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) were rejected by the electoral commission.
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