Defense ministers from a dozen countries have condemned the killing of more than 100 pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar.
On Saturday, the deadliest day since the military seized power, the United States accused Burmese security forces of a “reign of terror.”
However, coup leader Min Aung Hlaing and his generals continued with their plans to hold a lavish party for the Armed Forces Day that night. The military was also reported to have attempted to intervene at Sunday’s funerals.
Since the protests began, more than 400 people have died as a result of the brutal repression.
Defense chiefs of 12 nations, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Japan, and Australia, issued a joint statement on Sunday, condemning the violence against anti-coup protesters by the military.
“A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves,” the statement read.
The UK government has also urged British citizens in Myanmar to leave the country as soon as possible. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the advice “follows the significant increase in violence on 27 March.”
It also said: “We were previously advising British nationals to leave unless they had an urgent need to stay.”
Likewise, the United States said it was “horrified” by the killings, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Burmese military of “sacrificing the lives of the people to serve the few.” Furthermore, the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said that he was “deeply shocked” by the violent actions.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab referred to the situation as a “new low.”
Also, UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews called for an emergency international summit. However, China and Russia, nations with vetoes in the UN Security Council, have not joined in the criticism, which could make it difficult to take action.
Reports showed that security forces opened fire in more than 40 places on Saturday.
Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, reported dozens of deaths, but activist and human rights groups clarified that the number of fatalities stretched from Kachin in the north to Taninthartharyi in the far south.