Myanmar’s junta leader and his generals threw a lavish party hours after 114 people were killed in the deadliest day since the military coup.
Min Aung Hlaing and his top officers celebrated the country’s Armed Forces Day on Saturday despite lethal scenes earlier that prompted global outrage.
Funerals of some of the victims — including a five-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — were being held yesterday, with some reports the military tried to intervene in the mourning.
But even after the bloodshed, protesters yesterday returned to the streets of Myanmar’s two largest cities, Yangon and Mandalay.
More than 400 people have now been killed in the suppression of protests since the February 1 coup which ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
Military chiefs from around the world — including Britain’s chief of the defence staff Gen Sir Nicholas Carter — have issued a joint statement condemning the junta’s brutality.
‘As Chiefs of Defense, we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services,’ it said.
It was signed by chiefs from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, the US and Britain.
While the statement did not explicitly condemn the coup, it said a professional military must follow international standards for conduct ‘and is responsible for protecting — not harming — the people it serves’.
It said the military must ‘cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions’.
Gen Min Aung Hlaing had led a military parade in the capital Naypyitaw on Saturday. Armed Forces Day commemorates the start of resistance to Japanese occupation in 1945. Social media pictures showed him hosting a luxury military party that evening.
US and European sanctions last week increased pressure on the junta. But Myanmar’s generals have had some support from Russia and China, both veto-holding members of the UN Security Council.
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