0439 GMT October 04, 2022
Friday’s rallies came a day after a rights group said security forces killed 12 protesters and as the lawyer of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi ridiculed new bribery allegations against her, according to Reuters.
The deaths took to more than 70 the number of protesters killed since the coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group said.
Myanmar's military is likely committing "crimes against humanity", the UN's top expert on rights in the country said Thursday, according to AFP.
Thomas Andrews told the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva that Myanmar was currently being "controlled by a murderous, illegal regime".
"There is growing evidence that (the) Myanmar military, led by the same senior leadership, is now likely engaging in crimes against humanity, including acts of murder, enforced disappearance, persecution, torture."
While stressing that such offences can only be determined in a court of law, he said there was clear evidence that the junta's crimes were "widespread", "systematic" and part of a "coordinated campaign".
He also said they were being carried out with "the knowledge of senior leadership", including junta leader Min Aung Hlaing.
South Korea has said it will suspend defense exchanges with Myanmar and ban arms exports to the country after a military coup and violent suppression of pro-democracy protests, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said on Friday, according to Reuters.
“Despite repeated demands of the international community, including South Korea, there are an increasing number of victims in Myanmar due to violent acts of the military and police authorities,” the ministry said in a statement.
It said Seoul would suspend defense exchanges, ban arms exports, limit exports of other strategic items, reconsider development aid and grant humanitarian exemptions allowing Myanmar nationals to stay in South Korea until the situation improved.
Protests were held in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, and several other towns on Friday, social media photographs posted by witnesses and news organizations showed.
The country has been in crisis since the army ousted Suu Kyi’s elected government in a Feb. 1 coup, detained her and officials of her National League for Democracy party and set up a ruling junta of generals.
Junta spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun said on Thursday Suu Kyi had accepted illegal payments worth $600,000, as well as gold, while in government, according to a complaint by Phyo Mien Thein, a former chief minister of Yangon.
Adding corruption charges to the accusations facing Suu Kyi, 75, could bring her a harsher penalty. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate now faces four comparatively minor charges, such as illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios and flouting coronavirus curbs.
“This accusation is the most hilarious joke,” Suu Kyi’s lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said in a statement posted on social media. “She might have other weaknesses but she doesn’t have weakness in moral principle.”
Thursday was one of the deadliest days since the military took power. Among the dead were eight people killed in the central town of Myaing when security forces fired on a protest, the AAPP said.