Army fires at funeral as Myanmar mourns day of ‘mass murder’

Myanmar security forces opened fire at people gathered for the funeral of one 114 people killed on Saturday in the bloodiest day since the February 1 coup, as the defence chiefs of 12 countries condemned the military for its deadly crackdown on demonstrators.

There were no immediate reports of casualties in the firing at the funeral on Sunday in the town of Bago, near the commercial capital Yangon, according to three people who spoke to Reuters news agency.

“While we are singing the revolution song for him, security forces just arrived and shot at us,” said a woman called Aye, who was at the service for Thae Maung Maung, a 20-year-old student who was shot on Saturday. “People, including us, run away as they opened fire.”

Two people were killed in firing on protests on Sunday in separate incidents elsewhere, witnesses and news reports said. One person was killed when troops opened fire overnight on a group of protesters near the capital Naypyitaw, Myanmar Now news reported.

So far on Sunday there were no reports of large-scale protests in Yangon or in the country’s second city, Mandalay, which bore the brunt of the casualties on Saturday, Myanmar’s Armed Forces Day. Funerals were held in many places.

At least six children between the ages of 10 and 16 were among those killed on Saturday, according to news reports and witnesses.

The United States, United Kingdom, Japan and South Korea signed a joint statement on Sunday denouncing the military’s crackdown.

“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves,” the defence chiefs said. “We urge the Myanmar armed forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions.”

The other countries that signed the statement were Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.

Several funerals were held on Sunday for some of the victims of the crackdown. In Mandalay, the family of Aye Ko, a father-of-four, commemorated his life at a service after he was killed overnight.

“We are told by the neighbours that Aye Ko was shot and thrown into the fire,” a relative told AFP news agency.

“He was the only one who fed the family, losing him is a great loss for the family.”

The General Strike Committee of Nationalities (GSCN), one of the main protest groups, paid tribute to those who died, saying in a Facebook post: “We salute our heroes who sacrificed lives during this revolution”. It added, “We Must Win This REVOLUTION.”

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