At least 38 anti-coup protesters in Myanmar have been killed on March 14, according to a local advocacy group, as Chinese factories were set on fire.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), security forces killed at least 22 protesters and injured over 20 in Hlaingthaya Township in the city of Yangon as four Chinese factories and a fertilizer plant burned.
AAPP added that a further 16 protesters and one police officer were killed in other places.
Local media reported that security forces in the massive industrial district opened fire on protesters who wielded sticks and knives and hid behind makeshift barricades.
State media reported that the military imposed martial law in Hlaingthaya and in neighboring district Shwepyitha, after the arson attack, which China has said injured many Chinese staff.
Military-owned Myawaddy Television reported that around 2,000 people had blocked fire engines from reaching the burning factories.
“China urges Myanmar to take further effective measures to stop all acts of violence, punish the perpetrators in accordance with the law and ensure the safety of life and property of Chinese companies and personnel in Myanmar,” the Chinese embassy said in a statement.
Protesters view China as supporters of the military junta.
No group has yet to claim responsibility for setting the factories ablaze.
The day becomes one of the bloodiest days since the military staged a coup and ousted State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi last Feb. 1.
“This is the darkest moment of the nation and the light before the dawn is close. The uprising must win,” Mahn Win Khaing Than, leader of a group of ousted politicians, said in a video uploaded in the Facebook page of the Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw.
According to AAPP, the violent crackdown has killed a total of 126 people.
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