80 killed in fresh crackdown on Myanmar protesters
International desk || shiningbd
Reports emerged Saturday (April 10) of more than 80 killed in the latest bloodletting by Myanmar's military, as the country's own ambassador to the United Nations called for "strong action" against the junta.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in February, with protesters refusing to submit to the junta and demanding a return to democracy.
After over two months of military rule, efforts to verify deaths and confirm news of crackdowns have been greatly curtailed by the junta's throttling of mobile data within the country - shunting most of the population into an information blackout.
Details of a brutal crackdown in the city of Bago, 65km north-east of Yangon took a full day to emerge, as residents told AFP of continued violence from the junta which pushed them to flee to nearby villages.
By Saturday evening, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners - a local monitoring group tracking deaths - confirmed "over 80 anti-coup protesters were killed by security forces in Bago on Friday".
AFP-verified footage shot early Friday showed protesters hiding behind sandbag barricades wielding homemade rifles, as explosions could be heard in the background.
Authorities had refused to let rescue workers near the bodies, said a resident.
"They piled up all the dead bodies, loaded them into their army truck and drove it away," he told AFP.
State-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper on Saturday blamed the crackdown on "rioters", and reported only one dead.