Myanmar junta leader pledges democracy at Army Day parade

Myanmar Military Says Protesters Will Be'Shot In The Head: Report

Myanmar's political landscape has been closely watched since a military coup on Feb 1, 2021, which overthrew the elected government of Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

The death toll from crackdowns on anti-coup protests by Myanmar's military had reached 320 by Thursday night, a rights group monitoring the situation said, while the outside world has found few effective means to rein in the indiscriminate violence against citizens.

Agence France-Presse has reported that a Molotov cocktail thrown at the Yangon headquarters of the National League for Democracy party of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi caused a small fire.

At least four people were killed when security forces opened fire at a crowd protesting outside a police station in Yangon's Dala suburb in the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar Now reported.

"It isn't for the protection of democracy as well, it's how they harm democracy..."

There is a growing concern that the military may intensify its crackdown with a military parade scheduled for Armed Forces Day on Saturday, which is considered the most important event for the military. But only eight countries, including China and Russian Federation, took part this year.

In several locations, security forces sought to disperse them forcefully, as has become standard practice, Reports on social media, not immediately verified, said several demonstrators were shot dead Saturday morning.

Myanmar's ethnic armed factions will not stand by and do nothing if the junta's forces continue to kill protesters, the leader of one of the main armed groups said.

It follows the death of a 15-year-old boy on Monday, also in Mandalay, according to Reuters and local news reports. "The conditions on the ground is very scary at the moment".

Thousands of people held protests against last month's coup in the commercial capital Yangon and other cities and towns on Thursday, according to witnesses and social media posts.

"Learn the lesson from those who have brutally not die for nothing", it said. The child was reportedly sitting on her father's lap when the soldiers broke in and demanded to know if everyone in the family was at home.

"I am extremely sad for him, but at the same time, I am proud of my son".

There are fears that tomorrow - Myanmar's Armed Forces Day, usually marked with a parade in Naypyitaw - could be a flashpoint.

A spokesman for the military, which said on Tuesday that 164 protesters had been killed, did not answer calls looking for a comment.

"Our nomination is a recognition of this anti-coup resistance that is working for peace and democracy through non-violent means", said their nomination letter.

On Friday a senior official from the jail, notorious for being the holding site of longtime political prisoners, said another 322 people have been freed.

Security forces have increasingly cracked down with lethal force on demonstrations against the coup in recent weeks, using tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to break up rallies.

A local human rights organization says as of Friday, 328 people have been killed since the February 1 coup.

The protest movement has also included widespread strikes by civil servants, which have brought many basic government functions to a halt.

But the protest movement, coming on top of a Covid pandemic that hit Myanmar hard, has also struck the country's economy.

The World Bank has warned the country faces a huge 10 percent slump in GDP in 2021.