Security forces in Myanmar have been accused of opening fire on armed civilians, killing dozens of innocent people, including children, in a bloody crackdown on the annual armed forces day.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the regime had hit a “new low” on Saturday as soldiers and police sought to suppress protests in the deadliest day since last month’s military coup.
An independent researcher in Yangon put the death toll at 100, with the bloodshed having spread over more than two dozen cities and towns.
The slaughter provoked an international outcry, with the British ambassador among the diplomatic missions raising concerns that children are among the dead.
Mr Raab said: “Today’s killing of unarmed civilians, including children, marks a new low.
“We will work with our international partners to end this senseless violence, hold those responsible to account, and secure a path back to democracy.”
Dan Chugg, the British ambassador in Yangon, said that the “security forces have disgraced themselves by shooting unarmed civilians”.
“At a time of economic crisis, Covid and a worsening humanitarian situation, today’s military parade and extrajudicial killings speak volumes for the priorities of the military junta,” he said.
The European Union’s delegation to Myanmar said the 76th armed forces day was “a day of terror and dishonour”, adding: “The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts.”
The coup started on February 1 when the military overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government. Suppression of the resistance against the junta has grown steadily more forceful, and with it so has the death toll.
Junta chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing used a televised speech to criticise “terrorism which can be harmful to state tranquillity and social security”.
Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for campaigns, Ming Yu Hah, said: “These abhorrent killings again show the generals’ brazen disregard for the inadequate pressure applied so far by the international community.
“This comes a day after the military announced that further protests would be met with shots to the head.
“The cost of international inaction is being counted in bodies, including children shot dead in their homes.”