Actions by Myanmar military on civilians reprehensible: Blinken

Washington:  The recent actions of the Myanmar military against its own civilians are reprehensible, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

Over 500 people have been reportedly killed in a violent crackdown on protesters by the security forces ever since the junta overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup last month.

“The actions that we’ve seen by the Burmese military in terms of its attacks on civilians are reprehensible,” Blinken told reporters at a news conference on Tuesday. “We witnessed just this past weekend an attack that killed about 100 civilians. Some people simply caught in the crossfire, others just expressing peacefully their views.”

This follows a series of other attacks, and increasingly disturbing and even horrifying violence, he added.

“One thing is clear. It’s that the people of Burma are speaking clearly. They don’t want to live under military rule and that is evident from what we’re seeing and hearing and witnessing every single day in Burma,” Blinken said.

The secretary of state added that the US had taken a number of actions.

“Of course, we and others have spoken out very forcefully against the violence being perpetrated by the military regime. Beyond that, we’ve taken specific action with regard to those responsible for the coup and enterprises that support them including designations under various sanctions laws. We’ve also worked closely with other countries to speak out in unison,” he said.

Some countries and some companies in various parts of the world have significant investments in enterprises that support the Burmese military, according to Blinken.

“They should be looking at those investments and reconsidering them as a means of denying the military the financial support it needs to sustain itself against the will of the people,” he said.

“You can expect us to continue to speak out strongly and to work with close allies and partners, including the ASEAN countries, in strong opposition to the actions that the coup-regime is taking in Burma,” Blinken said.

Meanwhile, the Department of State updated the Level 4 (Do Not Travel) Travel Advisory for Myanmar to include information on ordered departure of non-emergency US government employees and their family members.

“The Burmese military has detained and deposed elected government officials. Protests and demonstrations against military rule have occurred and are expected to continue,” the State Department said. PTI

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