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More Than 700 Civilians Killed By Myanmar Junta Since Coup

Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday.
AFP via Getty Images
Protesters march during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday.

Myanmar security forces have killed more than 700 civilians since the Feb. 1 coup, a human rights group reported over the weekend. At least 82 people were killed in the city of Bago on Friday during a crackdown against anti-coup protesters.

The actual number of those killed is likely much higher, according to the which has been tracking deaths since the coup began.

Soldiers used heavy weapons, including machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades in the attack against anti-regime protesters, according to The New York Times.

Eyewitnesses to the attack said the bodies of those killed and injured were piled on top of one another in a nearby pagoda and a school.

"The bodies and the wounded people were dragged away by [the troops]," one man told Myanmar Now.

Of the civilians who were injured, some requested medical treatment but were denied any care by the military, according to AAPP's report on the attack. Survivors have fled the town since the attack.

The attack on Bago marks the third in the span of a week that the junta used extreme force to try to stop the opposition, according to The Associated Press.

Earlier in the week attacks took place in Kalay and Taze, two towns where strongholds against the military rule had been set up, according to the AP. At least 11 people were killed in those attacks.

The military took over in February, staging a coup against civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party that won reelection in November. Military officials made claims of widespread "election fraud," though an electoral commission did not find evidence to support the claim.

More than 3,000 people in Myanmar are currently in detention under the ruling junta, according to AAPP.

Calls for international assistance and intervention have been building. Christine Schraner Burgener, the United Nations special envoy for Myanmar, arrived in Bangkok on Friday to work on resolving the crisis, the AP reports. Earlier this month, Burgener warned of a likely "bloodbath" if the international community didn't do more to address the violence.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Wynne Davis is a digital reporter and producer for NPR's All Things Considered.