US urges Myanmar to 'refrain from violence' after protester death

US urges Myanmar to 'refrain from violence' after protester death
The US urged Myanmar's military to "refrain from violence" after the first death in protests against the coup.
2 min read
20 February, 2021
Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing died after being shot during a demonstration in Yangon [AFP]

The United States on Friday urged Myanmar's military to refrain from violence and relinquish power after the first death in protests against the coup.

"We condemn any violence against the people of Burma and reiterate our calls on the Burmese military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters, using Myanmar's former name.

"The United States will continue to lead the diplomatic efforts to galvanize the international community into collective action against those responsible for this coup," he said.

Myanmar's military toppled civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, leading to protests for the restoration of democracy despite the junta's efforts to hinder communications.

A rally on February 9 in the capital Naypyidaw turned violence with police firing rubber bullets. Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who turned 20 while unconscious in a hospital bed, was confirmed dead Friday from a gunshot to the head.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that the United States, which has imposed its own targeted sanctions, hoped that international pressure would put the heat on the junta.

Blinken addressed the crisis in separate joint calls Thursday with Asian and European allies.

"Pressure takes time to be felt to be exerted," Blinken told BBC World News.

"My hope is that as more and more countries come together in making clear that this is not acceptable," he said, "we will see a change from the military."

"The harsh reality is that the democratic transition has been interrupted," he said. "The international community needs to speak clearly with one voice that that is not acceptable."

Agencies contributed to this report.

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