WASHINGTON: The United States on Wednesday said it is appalled and revulsed to see the horrific violence perpetrated against the people of Myanmar for their peaceful calls to restore civilian governance.
In an escalation of their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup, Myanmar security forces killed at least 33 protesters on Wednesday — highest daily death toll since the February 1 takeover.
“As reports and shocking images continue to stream in, we are appalled and revulsed to see the horrific violence perpetrated against the people of Burma for their peaceful calls to restore civilian governance,” State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said, using Myanmar’s former name.
“We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people and to promote accountability for the military’s actions that have led to the loss of life of so many people in Burma,” he told reporters at his daily news conference.
Responding to a question, he said the US is deeply concerned about the increasing attacks on and arrests of journalists. “We call on the military to immediately release these individuals, and to cease intimidation and harassment of the media and others unjustly detained merely for doing their jobs, for exercising their universal rights,” he said.
“A free and independent media, as we have said in other contexts, plays a critical role in ensuring that people are able to make informed decisions. We call upon the military to allow journalists to work independently, without harassment, intimidation, or fear of reprisals,” he said.
The United States, he said, has taken a number of measures against the military leaders responsible for this coup and related violence, including visa restrictions and asset-blocking sanctions. “We will continue and we will expand those efforts to promote accountability for what we have witnessed over the past few weeks”.
He said the US supports the peaceful exercise of the universal rights of the people of Myanmar, including the rights of freedom of expression and peaceful assembly.
“In all of this, we are continuing to stand with the people of Burma, and the people of Burma, as we have seen, have made very clear in their own actions and words and deeds that they do not support this military junta that has overthrown their own democratically elected government. We are standing with them, with our word, with our deed to advance their aspirations to restore a democratically elected government in Burma,” Price said.
Responding to a question, Price said India and Japan are key partners in the Indo-Pacific. “We will continue to work towards our collective goal of seeking a restoration of Burma’s democratically elected civilian government,” he said.