Chinese properties set afire; over 35 killed in Myanmar: Report

Yangon: Security forces killed at least 22 anti-coup protesters in the poor, industrial Hlaingthaya suburb of Myanmar’s main city on the weekend after Chinese-financed factories were set ablaze there, an advocacy group said.

A further 16 protesters were killed in other places, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said, as well as one policeman, making it the bloodiest day since the February 1 coup against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Chinese embassy said many Chinese staff were injured and trapped in arson attacks by unidentified assailants on garment factories in Hlaingthaya and that it had called on Myanmar to protect Chinese property and citizens.

China is viewed as being supportive of the military junta that has taken power.

As plumes of smoke rose from the industrial area, security forces opened fire on protesters in the suburb that is home to migrants from across the country, local media said.

“It was horrible. People were shot before my eyes. It will never leave my memory,” said one photojournalist on the scene who did not want to be named. Martial law was imposed in Hlaingthaya and another district of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial hub and former capital, state media announced.

China’s embassy described the situation as “very severe” after the attacks on the Chinese-financed factories. It did not make a statement about the killings.

“China urges Myanmar to take further effective measures to stop all acts of violence, punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel in Myanmar,” its statement said.

No group claimed responsibility for burning the factories.

Anti-Chinese sentiment has risen since the coup that plunged Myanmar into turmoil, with opponents of the army takeover noting Beijing’s muted criticism compared to Western condemnation.

Image courtesy of (newsunique.in)

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