Myanmar junta says protests against its rule are dwindling


This screengrab provided via AFPTV and taken from a broadcast by Myanmar Radio and Television (MRTV) shows junta spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun speaking during a live press conference organised by the military government in Naypyidaw on April 9, 2021. - AFP

YANGON (Reuters): Myanmar's military junta said on Friday (April 9) that a protest campaign against its rule was dwindling since people wanted peace while 18 ambassadors to the country called in a joint statement for the restoration of democracy.

Government ministries will resume full operations soon, junta spokesman Brigadier Zaw Min Tun told a news conference in the capital, Naypyitaw.

More than 600 people have been killed by security forces cracking down on protests against the Feb 1 coup in which the military ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Southeast Asian nation has ground to a standstill because of the protest campaign and widespread strikes against military rule.

"The reason of reducing protests is due to cooperation of people who want peace, which we value", Zaw Min Tun said.

"We request people to cooperate with security forces and help them."

In the latest violence, at least four demonstrators were killed by security forces on Friday in the town of Bago, near the main city of Yangon, witnesses and domestic media said.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group has said 614 people, including 48 children, have been killed by security forces since the coup. Over 2,800 were in detention, it said.

"We are humbled by their courage and dignity," the ambassadors said of the protesters in their statement.

"We stand together to support the hopes and aspirations of all those who believe in a free, just, peaceful and democratic Myanmar. Violence has to stop, all political detainees must be released and democracy must be restored."

The statement was signed by the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, the EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Switzerland and several European nations.

Zaw Min Tun said at least 16 policemen had been killed. He accused members of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy of arson and said the protest campaign was being financed by foreign money. He gave no details.

He said reports that some members of the international community did not recognise the military government were "fake news".

"We are cooperating with foreign countries and working together with neighbouring countries," the spokesman said.

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