Myanmar’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. File photo
Myanmar security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators on Monday as ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was set to appear in court, after dozens of people were killed in the bloodiest day since a military coup more than six weeks ago.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, at least 44 protesters were killed on Sunday as security forces cracked down on anti-coup demonstrations, taking the total death toll to more than 120.
The protesters took to the streets in defiance of the authorities' escalating use of violence, with dozens killed on Sunday in the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 coup.
Protesters demanding the release of Suu Kyi and the restoration of democracy have taken to the streets across Myanmar every day for around six weeks despite the junta's increasingly forceful attempts to quell the dissent.
A protester holds a poster of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a candlelight vigil in Yangon. AFP
Sunday saw violent clashes between security forces and protesters and the torching of several Chinese-owned factories in a textile-producing district of Yangon, as many protesters believe Beijing to be supportive of the coup.
The AAPP on Monday said six more deaths had been confirmed to add to an overnight toll of 38, making Sunday the deadliest single day since the coup.
Court hearing held up
The Yangon court hearing for Suu Kyi — who spent more than 15 years under house arrest during previous military rule — was scheduled for 10 am (0330 GMT) but the start was delayed by legal wrangling, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told the media.
The Nobel laureate faces at least four charges: possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies; violating coronavirus restrictions; breaching telecommunications laws; and intent to cause public unrest.
Military authorities have also accused her of accepting illegal payments of $600,000 in cash as well as a large quantity of gold -- allegations her lawyer says are "groundless".
"The ruling junta has showed its teeth and taken its mask off... they are showing their true self," Khin Maung Zaw said of Sunday's violence.Khin Maung Zaw has complained he has not been allowed to meet Suu Kyi, who has been in custody since the coup, though he said the 75-year-old appeared in good health at her last court appearance, by video link, on March 1.
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