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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Myanmar protests: UK tells citizens to flee

The UK Foreign Office said Britons should leave Myanmar because of escalating violence unless there was an urgent need to stay. The UK says anyone who cannot leave the country is advised to stay indoors and safe, avoiding crowds if they do need to leave home for essential reasons.

By: Deutsche Welle |
Updated: March 12, 2021 3:44:38 pm
Myanmar, Myanmar protests, anti-coup protestsAnti-coup protesters retreat from the frontlines after riot policemen fire sound-bombs and rubber bullets in Yangon, Myanmar, Thursday, March 11, 2021. (AP Photo)

The UK Foreign Office on Friday told its citizens they should leave Myanmar as violent repression of protests in the country turns increasingly deadly.

The warning came as the UN warned the military junta was likely committing “crimes against humanity” in an attempt to keep its grip on power.

What was the UK’s advice on Myanmar?

The UK Foreign Office said Britons should leave Myanmar because of escalating violence unless there was an urgent need to stay.

“Political tension and unrest are widespread since the military takeover and levels of violence are rising,” a statement said.

“The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office advises British nationals to leave the country by commercial means unless there is an urgent need to stay.”

While Myanmar’s military has suspended normal commercial passenger journeys, relief flights are available, most of which can be commercially booked.

The UK says anyone who cannot leave the country is advised to stay indoors and safe, avoiding crowds if they do need to leave home for essential reasons.

UN delivers grim appraisal

There have been mass demonstrations across Myanmar since a military coup at the beginning of February. Protesters are demanding the reinstatement of the country’s elected civilian government release of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

At least nine protesters were killed in different parts of the country on Thursday, with five of them shot in the head, according to a witness.

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on human rights in the country, Thomas Andrews, gave a bleak assessment of the crisis.

He told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that the country was “controlled by a murderous, illegal regime” that was likely committing “crimes against humanity.”

He said the offences were likely include “acts of murder, enforced disappearance, persecution, torture.” These appeared to have been carried out with “the knowledge of senior leadership,” including junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.

While Andrews stressed that such offences could only be determined in a court of law, he added that clear evidence of crimes by the junta and that these were “widespread” and part of a “coordinated campaign.”

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