U.S. Slams ‘Repulsive’ Myanmar Crackdown as Death Toll Surges
Protesters run from gun fire at a demonstration in downtown Yangon, in Myanmar. (Photographer: Stringer/Bloomberg News)

U.S. Slams ‘Repulsive’ Myanmar Crackdown as Death Toll Surges

The U.S. criticized Myanmar’s security forces for using deadly force against anti-coup protesters as the United Nations said another 38 protesters were killed across the country on Wednesday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price called the loss of life “repulsive” and reiterated that the U.S. was considering additional measures aimed at holding the military accountable. The fresh violence also comes after the junta told security forces to avoid using live bullets.

“We are always looking a policy options that are available to us and that are appropriate given the circumstances,” he said at a press briefing. “The loss of life, especially the loss of life in recent days, is abhorrent.”

U.S. Slams ‘Repulsive’ Myanmar Crackdown as Death Toll Surges

Wednesday marked the deadliest day yet since the military seized control of the government on Feb. 1. The standing of army chief Min Aung Hlaing’s regime has slipped even further in the West after his UN envoy recently denounced the military takeover.

Speaking at a virtual briefing, UN Special Envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said the situation could turn into a “real war.” After warning the military it might face strong measures from the Security Council, she said they responded: “We are used to sanctions and we survived the sanctions time in the past.”

“I also warned they will go in an isolation,” she added. They responded by saying “we have to learn to walk with only few friends.”

The U.S. has led the international pushback so far, imposing targeted sanctions on the coup makers. On Wednesday, Price defended the efficacy of sanctions, saying they have a “significant impact” on the military’s ability to wield power and influence. He also said that the U.S. would continue to coordinate closely with like-minded partners and allies around the world.

“Our measures are going to continue to be very tightly targeted at the members of the military,” he said.

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