Myanmar Death Toll Mounts Amid Protests, Military Crackdown

Myanmar Junta Cuts Wireless Internet to Stifle Coup Protests

Tom Andrews, the UN's Special Rapporteur on Myanmar told DW that the use of militias would be a "grave mistake" which could "jeopardize many, many, many more lives" while "giving the junta an excuse to broaden its range of hellfire on innocent protesters".

In another blow to the junta's business interests, two military-owned supermarkets in Yangon were set ablaze overnight, and more worldwide companies cut ties.

Foreign governments are protesting the junta's treatment of their nationals, including a South Korean bank employee shot in the head while riding on a bus this week, and Australian economics professor Sean Turnell, an adviser to elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested along with her and charged with violating Myanmar's official secrets law.

The junta has accused her of several minor crimes including illegally importing six handheld radios and breaching coronavirus protocols but a domestic media outlet reported on Wednesday she could be charged with treason, which can be punishable by death.

The junta is also probing the Nobel laureate over allegations she took payments of gold and more than US$1 million in cash, but Khin Maung Zaw said these were not likely to translate into formal charges at this stage.

Her lawyers have said the charges she faces were trumped up.

As the military clamps down on the flow of information, dozens of journalists have been detained by security forces, according to the United Nations, and so have citizens who have spoken to media outlets, according to reports.

Police and a spokesman for the military did not answer calls seeking comment. The airstrikes prompted thousands of people to flee through the jungle and over the border into neighboring Thailand.

In cities across Myanmar, there were candle-lit protests overnight and marches at dawn on Thursday, according to media and photographs on social media.

One person was killed and five wounded when the security forces fired in the central town of Monywa, the Monywa Gazette reported.

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Meanwhile, the Karen National Union representing the ethnic minority rebel group that has been fighting the government for decades condemned "non-stop bombings and airstrikes" against villages and "unarmed civilians" in their homeland along the border with Thailand.

More than a dozen minority groups have sought greater autonomy from the central government for decades, sometimes through armed struggle.

They said Myanmar's military-drafted 2008 constitution was "cancelled", and on Thursday a group of protesters burned a pile of copies in the street in Yangon.

"The new day begins here!" Dr Sasa, the global envoy for the ousted parliamentarians said on Twitter, referring to what for now is not a change that proponents can make.

Facebook and other major social media platforms have banned members of the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw, and are blocking ads from most military-linked commercial entities.

The council must consider "potentially significant action" to reverse the course of events as "a bloodbath is imminent", she said.

Some 543 people have been killed in the uprising, according to the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, which is tracking casualties and detentions.

UNSC President Dang Dinh Quy detailed Thursday that members of the security council are deeply concerned by the "rapidly deteriorating situation" in Myanmar and "strongly condemn" the violence that has led to the "deaths of hundreds of civilians, including women and children".

Information flow in the country has also been throttled, with the junta cutting wifi services, mobile data and imposing a nightly internet blackout that has gone on for almost 50 days.

Worldwide powers have sought to pile pressure on the military by hitting its sprawling business interests, which include the country's lucrative jade and ruby trade.

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