Myanmar’s military junta has accused deposed de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi of accepting more than $500,000 in bribes, as another day of protests Thursday resulted in more deaths among the demonstrators.
Naung Lin Han, Chairperson of Student Social Relief Volunteer Association, Myaing Township in Magwe Region told VOA Burmese that 8 were killed and 6 others injured when police opened fire on protesters surrounding a police station in the central town of Myaing. He said this is the first time deadly force has been used against demonstrators in Myaing.
There were also reports of deaths in the main city of Yangon and the second-largest city of Mandalay.
During a press conference in the capital, Naypyitaw, military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun accused Suu Kyi of accepting $600,000 in illegal payments plus gold bars while in office, according to a complaint filed by Phyo Min Thein, Yangon’s former chief minister.
Suu Kyi is already facing four criminal charges of illegally possessing six unregistered walkie-talkie radios, operating communications equipment without a license, violating COVID-19 protocols by holding public gatherings and attempting to incite public unrest.
Myanmar’s military regime is coming under growing criticism from the international community for its violent actions against anti-coup demonstrators. Amnesty International released a report late Thursday accusing the junta of using “increasingly lethal tactics and weapons normally seen on the battlefield against peaceful protesters and bystanders across the country.”
The London-based group says the security forces actions are “planned, systematic strategies including the ramped-up use of lethal force” and described many of the killings as “extrajudicial executions.”
The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says at least 60 protesters have been killed and more than 1,900 people have been arrested since the February 1 coup.
The United Nations Security Council agreed on a statement late Wednesday to condemn the military government’s use of violence against peaceful protesters, diplomats said.
The council also called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi, referring to her by her formal title of state counselor, President Win Myint and other high ranking officials of the civilian government.
The agreement was the result of a rare show of unity over Myanmar among the council’s 15 members that include China.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, said the Security Council “spoke with one voice to condemn the ongoing violence against peaceful protesters in Burma,” using Myanmar’s previous name. “We commend their courage and determination in the face of continued, brutal attacks by military and security forces.”
Myanmar has been plagued by nonstop chaos since February 1 when the military detained Suu Kyi and Win Myint. The daily protests across the country have been coupled with a campaign of civil disobedience led by striking railway workers and other civil servants. The railway workers joined an alliance of nine trade unions in Myanmar in a general strike Monday.
Military officials have claimed widespread fraud in last November’s general election, which the NLD won in a landslide, as justification for the takeover. The fraud allegations have been denied by Myanmar’s electoral commission.
VOA Burmese Service contributed to this story.