New images shows violence continuing to rise in Myanmar

(CNN)Concern is growing for the safety of residents in parts of Myanmar’s largest city after the military moved to seal off several key areas and impose an information blackout in an apparent bid to quash opposition.

The military, which seized power in a February 1 coup, has in recent days become more indiscriminate in its use of deadly violence against unarmed protesters, with widespread reports of shootings and torture of political prisoners.
More than 200 people have been killed in protests since the coup, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet told CNN’s Becky Anderson Wednesday.

    “Yesterday we were informed [of] 149 [deaths], now we can say 202 since February 1, including 121 since last Friday,” Bachelet said on “Connect the World.”

      Bachelet said the death toll could be much higher because the UN agency doesn’t have access to some areas where more killings may have happened. She added that some 2,400 people have been detained.

      This week, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing’s forces imposed martial law in six areas of Yangon, following the bloodiest day of violence against anti-coup protesters amid arson attacks on Chinese-funded factories carried out by unknown groups. Martial law was also imposed in parts of the second city Mandalay, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
      Mobile network data across the country was cut for a second day Wednesday, internet monitoring service Netblocks reported. With little information coming out it is difficult for news organizations, and human rights and advocacy groups to assess and verify the current situation.
      Protesters and journalists have relied on their mobile phones to live stream demonstrations and document police crackdowns, and the military’s suppression of information has increased fears it could lead to more human rights abuses, killings and arbitrary arrests.

      Chaotic scenes of makeshift barricades on a bridge set on fire by police during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon.

      “With the internet shut down, the people inside areas sealed off by the military and police have no access to the outside world,” said John Quinley, senior human rights specialist at the rights group Fortify Rights. “The junta is trying to stop any information about the violence they are committing from getting out. The junta is trying to create a total blackout.”
      Security forces were reported to have opened fire in several locations of Yangon just after midnight Wednesday and several injuries were reported. Meanwhile, barricades made by residents in the city were also removed.
      A 28-year-old man died of an apparent gunshot wound in overnight protest in Yangon, a local journalist and eyewitnesses in Myanmar said Wednesday. Local witnesses reported hearing a loud bang during a peaceful protest, after which the man immediately fell to the ground and began bleeding.
      Protesters rushed the man to hospital where he was treated but later died from his injuries. Local media Myanmar Now said the incident took place in Mingalar Taung Nyunt township during a crackdown on a nighttime protest. CNN could not independently verify that security forces shot the man.
      More than 200 people have been killed since the coup, according to advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). At least 74 people were killed on Sunday alone and 20 more killed on Monday, the group said. Mass funerals for many of the dead were held across Yangon on Tuesday.
      Activists have highlighted the particular concern for those in the Yangon district of Hlaingthaya, a poor industrial neighborhood to the northwest of the city that is home to many migrants and factory workers. One of Yangon’s biggest districts and a protest stronghold, it bore the brunt of Sunday’s casualties and several Chinese-owned factories were set ablaze there.

      Protesters take cover behind homemade shields as they confront the police during a crackdown on demonstrations against the military coup in Yangon on March 16.

      Thousands of people fled Hlaingthaya on Tuesday after it was placed under martial law, according to Reuters and local media Frontier Myanmar. Images showed residents carrying their belongings as they packed into cars, tuk tuks and trucks.
      Speaking to Reuters, a labor organizer in Hlaingthaya said, “here is like a war zone, they are shooting everywhere,” and added most residents were too frightened to go outside.
      Two doctors told Reuters there were wounded people in need of medical attention in the area, but the army had sealed its entrances.
      Matthew Smith, CEO of Fortify Rights, said on Twitter more killings were reported in Hlaingthaya on Tuesday, however, emergency vehicles were unable to access the area due to road blocks.
      Local media have reported a heavy police presence in the six Yangon townships under martial law. Anyone arrested in these areas can now be tried by military courts, with sentences including imprisonment, hard labor and the death penalty, according to Human Rights Watch.
      Martial law under the junta’s regime means the military commander of the Yangon region is given “full administrative and judicial authority” in districts where martial law is declared, local media outlet Myanmar Now reported.
      “Effectively, martial law means that the military has complete control over these areas, rather than working through civilian administrators or judges,” said Melissa Crouch, law professor at the University of New South Wales, Australia and author of “The Constitution of Myanmar,” on her website.

      People in cars and trucks flee the Hlaingtharya township in Yangon on March 16, as security forces continue a crackdown on protests in the area.

      In the past, such trials were usually held behind closed doors, outside of public scrutiny or proper procedure, and a conviction was almost certain.
      “This all but ensures legal proceedings that will deprive many of those charged for peaceful opposition to military rule of their basic fair trial rights, including the right to appeal,” said Linda Lakhdhir, legal adviser in the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, in a report.
      In state mouthpiece Global New Light of Myanmar Tuesday, Min Aung Hlaing said martial law was imposed after protests “turned into riots and violence.”
      “Violent acts emerged in some areas, such as burning public property and factories. So, security forces had to handle the situation very hard. The protesters raided police stations and administrative offices and burned factories,” the report said.
      Opposition to Myanmar’s junta continues to spread. On Wednesday, the most powerful religious body in the Buddhist-majority nation said it will end support to the military by stopping all its activities, according to Myanmar Now.
      An abbot told the news agency the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee (MaHaNa), a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist monks that oversees the country’s monkhood, called on the authorities to end the “violent arrests, torture and killing of unarmed civilians” and to “prevent the looting and destruction of public property.”

      The mother of Aung Kaung Htet wails during the teenage boy's funeral on Sunday, March 21. Aung, 15, was killed when military junta forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters in Yangon, Myanmar.

      Unidentified people cross the Tiau River at the India-Myanmar border on Saturday, March 20. Some people from Myanmar <a href="" target="_blank">have sought refuge in India</a> since the protests began.

      An anti-coup protester jumps over a makeshift barricade in Yangon on Friday, March 19.

      Protesters take positions on Yangon's Bayint Naung Bridge on Wednesday, March 17. The bridge was blocked with an improvised barricade to prevent security forces from crossing.

      Medical students hold up the <a href="" target="_blank">three-finger salute</a> at the Yangon funeral of Khant Nyar Hein on Tuesday, March 16. The first-year medical student was fatally shot during the crackdown.

      Protesters test Molotov cocktails in Yangon on March 16.

      Protesters stand near burning tires in Yangon on March 16.

      Anti-coup protesters pray in Yangon on March 14.

      Emergency workers transport the body of Shel Ye Win, who was shot by security forces in Mandalay, Myanmar.

      Smoke billows from the industrial zone of the Hlaing Tharyar township in Yangon on March 14. The Chinese Embassy in Myanmar said several <a href="" target="_blank">Chinese-funded factories were set ablaze</a> during protests. Demonstrators have accused Beijing of supporting the coup and junta.

      A member of Myanmar's police is seen firing a weapon toward protesters in Yangon on March 13.

      People lay flowers and light candles beside bloodied pavement where protester Chit Min Thu was killed in Yangon.

      Military trucks are seen near a burning barricade in Yangon that was erected by protesters and then set on fire by soldiers on March 10.

      A protester holds a homemade shield during an anti-coup demonstration in Yangon on March 9.

      A protester discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas that was fired by police in Yangon on March 8.

      Protesters string up longyi, traditional clothing worn in Myanmar, during a demonstration in Yangon on March 7.

      The wife of Phoe Chit, a protester who died during a demonstration, cries over her husband's coffin during his funeral in Yangon on March 5.

      Protesters step on portraits of Myanmar's armed forces chief, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, during a demonstration in Yangon on March 5.

      People cry in Yangon on March 4, near a spot where a family member was killed while protesting.

      Protesters lie on the ground after police opened fire to disperse an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay on March 3.

      Schoolteachers wear traditional hats while participating in an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay on March 3.

      A soldier stands next to a detained man during a demonstration in Mandalay on March 3.

      Anti-coup protesters run in Yangon on March 3. One of them discharged a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of tear gas fired by police.

      An anti-coup protester writes vital emergency information of another protester on his arm in Yangon.

      Police run toward protesters to disperse a demonstration in Yangon on March 3.

      A citizen of Myanmar living in India burns a poster of Myanmar's military chief during a protest in New Delhi on March 3.

      Medics help supply oxygen to a protester who was exposed to tear gas in Yangon on March 3.

      Protesters flee after tear gas was fired during a demonstration in Yangon on March 1.

      Protesters smoke behind shields during a demonstration in Yangon on March 1.

      Protesters in Yangon run away from tear gas on March 1.

      People in Yangon take part in a ceremony on February 28 to remember those who have been killed during demonstrations.

      Soldiers patrol during a protest in Yangon on February 28.

      Protesters take cover as they clash with police in Yangon on February 28.

      Protesters erect barricades during a demonstration in Yangon on February 28.

      Police charge at anti-coup protesters in Yangon on February 27.

      An injured protester receives medical attention in Mandalay after police and military forces cracked down on protests on February 26.

      Factory workers hold placards and shout slogans as they hold an anti-coup protest in Yangon on February 25.

      Anti-coup protesters shout slogans in Yangon on February 25.

      A police officer films protesters near the Indonesian Embassy in Yangon on February 24.

      Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband, Thet Naing Win, in Mandalay on February 23. He and another protester <a href="" target="_blank">were fatally shot by security forces</a> during an anti-coup protest.

      Police stand guard near the US Embassy in Yangon as protesters take part in an anti-coup demonstration on February 22.

      Protesters hold signs featuring civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a demonstration in Yangon on February 22.

      Protesters gather for a demonstration on February 22.

      A man is carried after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay on February 20.

      A police truck uses a water cannon to disperse protesters in Mandalay on February 20.

      A police officer aims a gun toward protesters during a demonstration in Mandalay on February 20.

      A protester holds a Suu Kyi poster as he sits in front of police in Yangon on February 19.

      Protesters flash the three-fingered salute during a rally in downtown Yangon on February 19.

      Flower tributes and sympathy messages are left in Yangon for <a href="" target="_blank">Mya Thweh Thweh Khine.</a> The 20-year-old was shot in the head at a protest in Naypyidaw, and she died on February 19.

      Protesters block a major road during a demonstration in Yangon on February 17.

      Demonstrators block a Yangon bridge with their cars on February 17.

      Buddhist monks march during an anti-coup protest in Yangon on February 16.

      A Suu Kyi banner is displayed during demonstrations in Yangon on February 15.

      Soldiers carry barricades in Yangon on February 15.

      Elected members of Parliament wave to protesters in Yangon as police surround the headquarters of Suu Kyi's political party, the National League for Democracy, on February 15.

      Medics clear the way as an injured protester is carried away for treatment in Mandalay, Myanmar, on February 15.

      People gather around an armored vehicle in Yangon on February 14.

      Young people in Yangon take part in an anti-coup hip-hop performance on February 14.

      Protesters demonstrate in Yangon on February 14.

      A child runs alongside an armored vehicle in Yangon on February 14.

      Protesters march through the city of Shwebo on February 13.

      Members of the Myanmar Photographers Association hold up their cameras as they call for Suu Kyi's release on February 13.

      Police detain a protester during a demonstration in Mawlamyine on February 12.

      Farmers ride a tractor with a Suu Kyi poster during a demonstration in Thongwa on February 12.

      A protester dressed as Lady Justice makes a three-finger salute as she takes part in a demonstration in Yangon on February 11.

      Protesters demonstrate in Bagan, a UNESCO World Heritage site, on February 11.

      Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the country's military leader, makes a televised statement on February 11. He announced that<a href="" target="_blank"> more than 23,000 prisoners were set to be granted amnesty and released that day.</a> It was unclear what offenses the prisoners were convicted of.

      Bodybuilders take part in a protest in Yangon on February 11.

      People hold up letters that spell "get out dictators" during a demonstration at Inle Lake on February 11.

      A protester carries a child during a march in Yangon on February 10.

      Women in wedding gowns holds up anti-coup placards in Yangon on February 10.

      A police officer aims a gun during clashes with protesters in the capital of Naypyidaw on February 9.

      A protester pleads for police to refrain from using tear gas against demonstrators in Yangon on February 9.

      Police fire water cannons at protesters in Naypyidaw on February 9.

      Protesters gather in Yangon on February 8.

      Protesters flash three-fingered salutes as they face rows of riot police in Naypyidaw on February 8.

      Hospital workers show three-finger salutes during a demonstration in Yangon on February 7.

      A rally takes place in Yangon on February 7.

      Protesters shout slogans in Yangon on February 7.

      Protesters give roses to riot police in Yangon on February 6.

      Yangon residents bang objects to show support for Suu Kyi and her party on February 5.

      Soldiers block a road near Myanmar's Parliament on February 2, a day after the coup.

      It comes as the junta charged the UN Envoy representing Myanmar’s now disbanded parliament with treason, a charge that carries the death penalty.
      In response, Dr. Sasa, who is out of the country, said he is “proud to have been charged with treason by the military junta,” in a statement posted on his Twitter account Tuesday.
      “It is these generals that have committed acts of treason every day. Taking what they want for themselves, denying the people their rights, and oppressing those that stand in their way,” he said.

        The impact of the coup and civil disobedience movement, which has disrupted parts of the country’s economy, is starting to sting. On Tuesday, the UN World Food Programme said rising food and fuel prices are undermining the ability of the poorest in the country to feed themselves and their families.
        “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.
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