Junta accuses Suu Kyi of taking bribes, 10 more protesters killed
YANGON, Mar 11: Myanmar's military government accused deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Thursday of accepting illegal payments, while ten people were killed when security forces opened fire on protests against the coup, witnesses said.
The United Nations on Wednesday condemned the junta's increasingly violent crackdown, which has seen more than 60 killed and 2,000 arrested, with even China -- a traditional Myanmar ally -- calling for "de-escalation" and dialogue.
Diplomats told AFP the statement agreed by the UN's Security Council "strongly condemns the use of violence against peaceful protesters", the second show of unity on Myanmar's crisis in just over a month for its 15 members, which include China.
"Now it's time for de-escalation. It's time for diplomacy. It's time for dialogue," said the UN's Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun following the condemnation. The pair have a variety of business holdings that have directly benefitted from their "father's position and malign influence", said a US Treasury statement.
In the capital Naypyidaw, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said the detained chief minister of Yangon had admitted giving Suu Kyi $600,000 in cash, along with more than 11 kilograms ($680,000 worth) of gold.
An Amnesty International report on Thursday accused the military of using "battlefield weapons" on unarmed protesters and carrying out premeditated killings orchestrated by their commanding officers.
The rights group catalogued the security forces' use of firearms that are "completely inappropriate for use in policing protests", including light machine guns, sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles.
With international condemnation so far seemingly ignored by the junta, the United States applied fresh pressure with sanctions against two adult children of coup leader General Min Aung Hlaing.
And the Asian Development Bank announced it had temporarily suspended funding for government projects in Myanmar "as the international community assesses the evolving situation".
Amnesty presented analysis of 55 videos recorded from February 28 to March 8 in cities across Myanmar, including Mandalay and Yangon.
In one Facebook clip, dated February 28 from the southeastern city of Dawei, a soldier is seen handing his rifle to a police officer next to him. The policeman takes aim and shoots, before personnel around them erupt in apparent celebration.
Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi, detained since the February 1 putsch, is already facing several criminal charges including owning unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions by staging a campaign event during last year's election.
On Thursday, state-run newspaper the Mirror carried an announcement that the Arakan Army (AA) -- which fights for more autonomy for the ethnic Rakhine population in northern Rakhine state -- was no longer considered a terrorist organisation.
The AA has been locked in battle with the military for nearly two years in a conflict that has left hundreds dead and forced some 200,000 civilians to flee their homes.
Herve Lemahieu, a Myanmar expert from Australia's Lowy Institute, said the move was likely because the military -- known as the Tatmadaw -- wanted to end the distraction of fighting the AA so it could focus on the protests.
"The Tatmadaw has many enemies, they don't want to operate on too many fronts at once and the most pressing front at this point in time is against the ethnic Burman majority in the major urban centres," he told AFP.
As the crackdown continues, the Sanchaung township in Myanmar's commercial hub Yangon had another sleepless night, as security forces raided apartments searching for lost police weapons. "They used sound bombs on every street," said one resident.
Another part of Yangon, North Okkalapa, was also reeling after 300 arrests on Wednesday, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group. -AFP