Council of Buddhist Monks in Myanmar Calls for End to Violence

A high-ranking council of Buddhist monks in Myanmar says it is suspending all activities amid the military junta’s escalating and deadly crackdown on anti-coup demonstrators. The 47-member State Saṅgha Maha Nayaka Committee, or Ma Ha Na, issued a statement Wednesday calling for an end to the violence, according to the news outlet Myanmar Now. The government-appointed body also called for the immediate end to arrests of unarmed civilians.   The unrest that has plagued Myanmar since the military’s overthrow of de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi entered its 44th day Wednesday. Security forces gather behind a burning barricade during a crackdown on protests against the military coup in Yangon on March 17, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)Plumes of smoke rose over an industrial area of the main city of Yangon, which has become a key battlefield in the nationwide protests against the February 1 military coup. Much of the city was placed under martial law after deadly rioting over the weekend.   The advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which has been tracking the violence, says more than 200 protesters have been killed in the unrest. The group says the death toll from rioting Sunday had reached 74, making it the bloodiest day of demonstrations against the junta. Pope pleads for peace Pope Francis also called for an end to the bloodshed in Myanmar Wednesday, after the end of his weekly general audience at the Vatican.   Children hold signs during an anti-coup procession from Nyinmaw to Tizit, Myanmar, March 17, 2021 in this still image obtained from social media video. (Dawei Watch via Reuters)The junta has blocked mobile internet service throughout Myanmar in an apparent bid to suppress news of the turmoil.
Military officials have claimed widespread fraud in last November’s general election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide, as justification for the takeover. The fraud allegations have been denied by Myanmar’s electoral commission.  

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