Myanmar refugees fleeing airstrikes face barbed wire fence in Thailand before being 'ordered back'

This is the harrowing moment Myanmar villagers fleeing airstrikes were refused entry into neighbouring Thailand this morning (March 30). The indigenous Karen people left their homes following aerial attacks by security forces on a Karen guerrilla position along the Salween River in Karen state’s Mutraw district on Sunday night (March 28). Officials in neighbouring Thailand had claimed that refugees would be allowed to remain in the country. However, footage from Mae Hong Son province appears to show the the people, mostly women and children, being turned back at a barbed wire fence and herded onto boats. The video is narrated by the filmer, an indigenous Karen person, who describes the situation in the local dialect. Child welfare charity Friends Without Borders Foundation said this morning (March 30) that some of the refugees spent the night sleeping on the river banks, a natural border with Thailand. They said: "These refugees were ordered to go back by this morning." Sithichai Chindaluang, the governor of Thailand’s Mae Hong Son province, claimed that the refugees would be held in a "safe place." However, Thai military commander Colonel Chaidan Grisanasuwarn said that villagers would be pushed back across the Salween River to Myanmar. "We asked them to return because we don’t see any risk," he told local media. The chaotic scene came as the death toll from the protests reached 500 people across the country and the government used airstrikes on villages. On Saturday, at least 114 civilians were killed in 44 towns and cities across the country, including a five-year-old child gunned down in the street. It happened when the military celebrated its annual Armed Forces Day. A 13-year-old girl was among those killed when the junta's armed forces opened fire in residential areas of Meikhtila, in Mandalay. At least 20 minors have reportedly been killed since the start of the unrest. International pressure on Myanmar, still also known as Burma, has escalated with the U.S. government putting sanctions on the country to strengthen its response to the military coup. Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began. It changed its name to Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi later took over as leader before being widely praised for introducing democratic reforms against ongoing opposition from the military.