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US Sanctions 2 More Myanmar Junta Leaders

US Sanctions 2 More Myanmar Junta Leaders

Tuesday, 23 February, 2021 - 06:15
Demonstrators protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Feb 22, 2021. Reuters

The United States on Monday announced sanctions against two more leaders of Myanmar's junta and warned of further action as hundreds of thousands defiantly rallied for the restoration of the nation's democracy.

The United States said it was blocking any US property and suspending the entry into the country of two members of the newly ruling State Administrative Council -- General Maung Maung Kyaw, who commands the air force, and Lieutenant General Moe Myint Tun.

"We will not hesitate to take further action against those who perpetrate violence and suppress the will of the people. We will not waver in our support for the people of Burma," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, using Myanmar's former name.

"We call on the military and police to cease all attacks on peaceful protesters, immediately release all those unjustly detained, stop attacks on and intimidation of journalists and activists and restore the democratically elected government," he said in a statement.

The announcement comes hours after the European Union also approved sanctions on Myanmar's military, stepping up international pressure over the February 1 coup in which the generals toppled democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta has warned it is willing to use lethal force to crush the increasingly large demonstrations after protesters were shot dead over the weekend.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on other top figures including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the military chief and new ruler of the country.

Myanmar's security forces have shown more restraint since the coup than in earlier confrontations with those pushing for democracy in almost half a century of direct military rule.

Even so, three protesters have been killed - two shot dead in the second city of Mandalay on Saturday, and a woman who died on Friday after being shot more than a week earlier in the capital, Naypyitaw.

The army has said one policeman died of injuries sustained during the protests. It has accused protesters of provoking violence.

Indonesia is pushing Southeast Asian neighbors to agree on a plan that would keep the junta to its promise of holding elections, with monitors to ensure they are fair and inclusive, three sources familiar with the proposal said.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi has been rallying support among Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) members for a special meeting on the crisis.

But the plan from the biggest regional nation would fall short of protester demands for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and recognition of the November election result.

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