Red Cross says volunteers hurt in Myanmar, urges halt to violence


FILE PHOTO: A member of Red Cross walks amid protests against the military coup in Dawei, Myanmar February 28, 2021 in this picture obtained from social media. Dawei Watch/via REUTERS

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Red Cross volunteers have been injured while helping people hurt in violence in Myanmar, where security forces are cracking down on pro-democracy protests, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said on Friday.

At least 55 people have been killed in Myanmar since a Feb. 1 military coup, according to a United Nations tally. More than 1,700 people have been arrested and many people, including medics, have been beaten by members of the security forces.

"There have been very serious incidents where Red Cross volunteers were injured and wrongfully arrested. Red Cross ambulances have also been damaged," Alexander Matheou, the IFRC's Asia Pacific regional director, said in a statement.

Matheou said the injured Myanmar Red Cross volunteers had been providing life-saving treatment to wounded people in line with fundamental principles of humanity, neutrality and impartiality.

"Red Cross volunteers should never be targeted," he said.

"The IFRC urges restraint and a halt to violence across Myanmar."

Video footage emerged this week of police severely beating three members of a Myanmar volunteer ambulance service. Reuters was no able to verify the footage.

A spokesman for the ruling military council has not commented on the video and did not answer telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

(Reporting by Reuters staff; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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