International community sanctions junta leaders, military, police officials involved in Burma coup
The international community continues to condemn the coup in Burma with multiple nations, including the European Union and United States, imposing sanctions against those involved in the deadly upheaval.
U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration levied sanctions against two members of Burma’s ruling junta, including the chief of police, and two military units with ties to the attacks on protesters, Reuters reported in late March 2021. The U.S. had already blacklisted top junta members and several military-owned companies for their participation in the coup. The additional sanctions “send a strong signal that we will follow through on our pledges to continue to take action against coup leaders and those who perpetrate violence,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
The U.S. sanctions came on the heels of sanctions announced by the EU, which froze assets and issued travel bans against 11 officials, including 10 military officers, The Associated Press (AP) reported. The EU’s sanctions targeted senior members of the Burmese Armed Forces, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and his deputy, Soe Win, according to the AP.
Burma’s military junta prevented the nation’s parliament from convening February 1, 2021, claiming that the November 2020 election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was fraudulent. The junta has since replaced the election commission that confirmed the November election, according to the AP. (Pictured: Anti-coup protesters flash a three-fingered sign of resistance during a demonstration in Naypyitaw, Burma, in March 2021.)
The deadly aftermath has drawn global criticism for reversing years of progress toward democracy. In issuing sanctions, EU foreign ministers said in a statement that the 27-nation bloc levied the penalties as a “robust response to the illegitimate over-throwing of the democratically-elected government and the brutal repression by the junta against peaceful protesters.”
“We don’t want to punish the population in Myanmar [Burma] with sanctions, but those who are blatantly violating human rights there,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said, according to the AP, calling the excessive violence “absolutely unacceptable.”
In late March, the junta released more than 600 people who had been imprisoned for demonstrating against the coup. The junta has arrested thousands of mostly peaceful protesters with more than 2,000 remaining in custody in late March, according to the AP. As the junta responded to protests with increasing brutality, demonstrators resorted to a new tactic by calling on people to stay home and for businesses to close their doors March 24 in what many called a silent protest or strike.
IMAGE CREDIT: THE ASSOCIATED PRESS