G7 ‘firmly condemn’ Myanmar military attacks on protesters

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A protester holds up a poster with a portrait of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing who died from a gunshot wound after being shot in the head last week, during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 19, 2021. — AFP pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A protester holds up a poster with a portrait of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing who died from a gunshot wound after being shot in the head last week, during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on February 19, 2021. — AFP pic

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LONDON, Feb 23 — G7 countries said on today they “firmly condemn” violence committed by Myanmar’s security forces against protesters and urged them to “exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law”.

The bloc of wealthy nations — comprising Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Britain and the United States as well as the European Union’s High Representative — reiterated their opposition to the February 1 coup and the increasingly heavy-handed response to demonstrations against it.

“Use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to account,” G7 foreign ministers said in a statement.

“We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup. We raise our concern at the crackdown on freedom of expression, including through the internet blackout and draconian changes to the law that repress free speech.”

The G7 called for an end to the “systematic targeting” of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists and for the military junta to revoke its declared state of emergency.

It also urged Myanmar’s military to allow full humanitarian access to support the most vulnerable.

“We remain united in condemning the coup in Myanmar. We call again for the immediate and unconditional release of those detained arbitrarily, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and continue to stand with the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy and freedom,” the statement said.

Myanmar’s military leaders are facing renewed pressure at home and abroad after gradually ratcheting up their use of force against a massive and largely peaceful civil disobedience campaign against their coup.

As the US, EU and UK tighten sanctions, demonstrations against the junta’s rule have continued to grow — alongside a violent response in return.

Three anti-coup protesters have been killed in the demonstrations so far, while a man patrolling his Yangon neighbourhood against night arrests was also shot dead at the weekend. — AFP

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