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Myanmar Crisis

Myanmar coup, from March 18 to March 31: Suu Kyi appoints six lawyers

Lawyer allowed online meeting with detained leader says she seems in good shape

Migrants protesting against the military junta in Myanmar hold pictures of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, during a candlelight vigil at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok, Thailand, March 28.   © Reuters

YANGON/BANGKOK -- On Feb. 1, Myanmar's military detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint in the country's first coup since 1988, bringing an end to a decade of civilian rule.

The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy had won a landslide in a general election in November. But the military has claimed the election was marred by fraud.

For all our coverage, visit our Myanmar Coup page.

Read our in-depth coverage:

-- US broadens Myanmar sanctions beyond military with trade move

-- Myanmar bloodbath signals open warfare on protesters by junta

-- Myanmar violence raises pressure on ASEAN to de-escalate crisis

-- Myanmar junta shamed by foreign defense chiefs over civilian deaths

-- Myanmar's infantry tied to protester deaths: Five things to know

-- Who is Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing? 5 things to know


To catch up on newer developments, see the next edition of latest updates.

Wednesday, March 31 (Yangon Time)

1:28 p.m. Khin Maung Zaw, the leader of Aung San Suu Kyi's defense team says that Min Min Soe, an attorney, has met the detained leader at 11 a.m. virtually. A message from Khin Maung Zaw shared with Nikkei Asia says that Suu Kyi's "physical situation... seemed good," citing Min Min Soe. At the meeting, Suu Kyi "officially appointed six lawyers for her defense in cases against her," the message reads.

It was the first time that Suu Kyi had met any of her defense team since she was detained in the coup on Feb. 1.

Khin Maung Zaw also tells Nikkei the virtual meeting between Suu Kyi and the attorney lasted about 30 minutes, and Suu Kyi seems detained at her own residence. "From the background of the video conference on the screen, it seems to be her own residence [in Naypyidaw]," the leader of defense team adds.

2:50 a.m. Global companies should consider cutting their capital ties with the Myanmar military's sprawling business interests, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges.

Myanmar military personnel participates in a parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw on March 27.   © Reuters

"Some countries and some companies in various parts of the world have significant investments in enterprises that support the Burmese military," Blinken tells a news conference. "They should be looking at those investments and reconsidering them as a means of denying the military the financial support it needs to sustain itself against the will of the people."

1:20 a.m. Presenting the Myanmar military with an ultimatum, however good the international community's intentions, risks inflaming violence in the country, Russia's first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, says in a tweet.

Russia, which sent Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin to Myanmar for the weekend Armed Forces Day celebration, has maintained at the U.N. that the Southeast Asian nation's crisis is an internal affair that needs to be resolved by the Myanmar people.

Tuesday, March 30

11:00 p.m. The Karen National Union, one of Myanmar's biggest armed ethnic groups, joins other such armies in declaring it will defend itself from government troops. .

"There is no legitimate reason to kill, harm and terrorize innocent people, including women, elders and children, in the dead of night," the statement says.

The KNU urges the international community "to cut all ties with [Myanmar's armed forces], including military and economic relationships."

A protester fires a homemade air gun during a protest against the military in Mandalay, Myanmar on March 27.   © Reuters

2:10 p.m. The Committee Representing Union Parliament (CRPH) issues a statement welcoming an announcement by three armed ethnic insurgent groups denouncing the ongoing military violence and pledging to protect the people. "CRPH has called on them to work together for the success of the revolution and establishment of a federal democratic union," the CRPH statement says.

11:30 a.m. Ethnic armed groups of the northern alliance -- Arakan Army, Ta'ang National Liberation Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army -- issue a joint statement saying they "strongly condemn the actions of the Myanmar military against unarmed civilians." The three groups demanded the "Myanmar military to stop killing and violating [the rights of] unarmed civilians and to find a political solution." They also announced that they will defend the people if the military continues its brutality against civilians.

10:30 a.m. The Committee Representing Union Parliament (CRPH), comprised mainly of former National League for Democracy lawmakers who were elected last November, is asking people to donate money through crowdfunding to support the resistance. So far, the organization has raised $9.2 million, according to a crowdfunding website.

9:00 a.m. Activists call for a "courage strike day," urging people to throw trash on the streets to express their opposition to the coup.

Monday, March 29

11:30 p.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres comments on the weekend bloodshed in Myanmar.

"My message to the Myanmar military is simple: Stop the killings," Guterres tells a news conference. "Stop the repression of the demonstrations; release the political prisoners; and return power to those who have a legitimate right to exercise it."

9:30 p.m. The U.S. has stopped all trade engagement with Myanmar under a 2013 trade and investment agreement that was adopted during the Southeast Asian nation's earlier transition to democracy.

This engagement will remain suspended "until the return of a democratically elected government," the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says in a statement.

The move represents a broadening of the U.S. government's response to the crisis in Myanmar after the deadliest weekend of violence so far. Reconsidering preferential treatment for Myanmar exports under the Generalized System of Preferences is another option, according to the statement.

"The United States supports the people of Burma in their efforts to restore a democratically elected government, which has been the foundation of Burma's economic growth and reform," says Ambassador Katherine Tai, the U.S. trade representative.

Under the 2013 agreement, Myanmar committed to working with the U.S. on "programs to support economic reforms, inclusive development, and integration into the global trading system," according to the statement.

Junta leader Gen. Ming Aung Hlaing had said in early February that the change in government in Myanmar would result in no change in economic policy or the country's stance toward foreign investment.

7:00 p.m. Myanmar's defiant Generation Z, born after the millennium, has come up with novel ways to protest.

The younger generation call the protests a revolution, in an echo of the 1988 uprising led by the youth of that era, and the 2007 "Saffron Revolution," mainly led by Buddhist monks. Myanmar also has a history of student and youth protests from its days under British and Japanese rule. Read more.

6:00 p.m. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha says the kingdom is ready to accommodate a flood of Myanmar refugees, albeit reluctantly, as the government expects thousands more to cross the border.

"We don't want to have an exodus into our territory, but we have to take care of human rights, too," Prayuth tells reporters

. "We have prepared an area for the influx. Organizing shelter or refugee centers -- we have not talked about that yet," the prime minister adds.

Many have fled Myanmar as the military steps up violence against pro-democracy protesters. "At the moment, villagers are hiding in the jungle as more than 3,000 crossed to Thailand to take refuge," says ethnic rights group Karen Women's Organization.

10:00 a.m. More than 3,000 ethnic Karen villagers have fled over the border to Thailand, the Karen Women's Organization says in a statement.

The military launched night-time airstrikes in a village in the Mu Traw district that borders Thailand on Saturday, killing three civilians and injuring seven, the group says, adding that more than 10,000 people fled to hide in the forest.

Sunday, March 28

8:47 a.m. Among envoys of Western governments condemning the military's brutality against unarmed civilians, which claimed at least 114 lives on Saturday, U.S. ambassador Thomas Vajda said on social media: "This bloodshed is is horrifying," adding "Myanmar's people have spoken clearly: they do not want to live under military rule."

British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the killing of unarmed civilians and children marked "a new low," while the EU delegation to Myanmar said that Saturday would "forever stay engraved as a day of terror and dishonour."

8:22 a.m. In an unprecedented move, defense chiefs from 12 countries -- Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. -- issue a joint statement condemning the "use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services."

The condemnation is a humiliation for the Burmese junta's leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who described Myanmar's military as "guardians of the people" at a vast parade of troops and military hardware rolled out to mark the annual Armed Forces Day on Saturday. The statement says: "A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting -- not harming -- the people it serves."

"We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions."

For Japan and South Korea -- both of which had warm ties with Myanmar's military -- this is the first time their military chiefs have joined western counterparts to condemn the actions of another Asian military force on human rights issues.

The killings, which took place on Armed Forces Day, drew strong renewed criticism from Western countries.   © Reuters

Saturday, March 27

11:30 p.m. The death toll in a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protesters rises to 114 as security forces open fire on civilians including children, news reports and witnesses say. The killings, which took place on Armed Forces Day, mark the country's bloodiest day since the coup unfolded and drew strong renewed criticism from Western countries.

British Ambassador Dan Chugg says the security forces had "disgraced themselves" and the U.S. envoy calls the violence horrifying. Meanwhile, military jets launch air strikes on a village in territory controlled by an armed group from the Karen ethnic minority, killing at least two, a civil society group says.

Earlier, the Karen National Union said it had overrun an army post near the Thai border, killing 10 people -- including a lieutenant colonel -- and losing one of its own fighters as tensions with the military surge after years of relative peace. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the junta leader, said during a parade to mark Armed Forces Day that the military would protect the people and strive for democracy.

6:20 p.m. Security forces killed more than 90 people across Myanmar on Saturday in one of the bloodiest days of protests since a military coup last month, news reports and witnesses said. According to the Myanmar Now news portal, 91 people were killed across the country by security forces. A boy reported by local media to be as young as five was among at least 29 people killed in Mandalay. At least 24 people were killed in Yangon.

1:00 p.m. Eight countries -- Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand -- have sent representatives to the Armed Forces Day military parade in Naypyitaw, Nikkei has learned. The representatives were military attaches; Russia also sent its deputy defense minister.

Military personnel participate in a parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw on March 27.   © Reuters

12:00 p.m. Security forces shoot and kill at least 16 protesters on Saturday, news reports and witnesses say. Protests took place in Yangon, Mandalay and other towns and cities. At least four people were killed when security forces opened fire on a crowd outside a police station in Yangon's Dala suburb in the early hours of Saturday, Myanmar Now reported.

Three people were shot and killed in a protest in the Insein district of the city, a resident told Reuters. Four people were killed in Lashio town in the east, and four in separate incidents in the Bago region near Yangon, according to media outlets. One person was killed in the town of Hopin in the northeast.

10:30 a.m. The junta holds a military parade in Naypyitaw to celebrate the annual Armed Forces Day. Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing gave a speech and reiterated a promise to hold elections, without mentioning a schedule. He also welcomed the presence of the Russians at the ceremony and said, "Russia is a true friend."

Friday, March 26

11:00 p.m. The special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, issues a call for restraint ahead of Armed Forces Day.

"Tomorrow, Armed Forces Day, marks Myanmar's liberation from foreign power," the envoy says in a statement. "Ensuring peace and defending the people should be the responsibility of any military, but in Myanmar, the Tatmadaw has turned against its own citizens."

10:00 p.m. With activists calling for anti-coup demonstrations on Myanmar's Armed Forces Day on Saturday, state-run television issues a grim warning.

Protesters heading into the streets are in danger of being shot in the head or back, according to a MRTV news channel broadcast.

Last week, the United Nations' acting resident and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, Andrew Kirkwood, told a U.N. session that many protesters "have been killed through gunshots to the head by snipers for peaceful demonstrations."

The MRTV warning provokes reactions on Twitter.

8:00 a.m. Myanmar's economy is expected to contract by 10% this year, a World Bank forecast shows. It is a sharp reversal from the bank's October prediction of 5.9% growth and its December projection of a 2% increase.

The country "has been heavily affected by protests, worker strikes, and military actions; reductions in mobility; and the ongoing disruption of critical public services in addition to banking, logistics, and internet services," the World Bank said.

6:00 a.m. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners recorded nine deaths of protesters at the hands of the security forces on Thursday: in Yangon's Thingangyun township, the town of Khin-U in the region of Sagaing, the town of Mohnyin in Kachin state and the city of Taunggyi in Shan state. Other media outlets reported at least seven protesters were wounded.

Residents said that after dark on Thursday, soldiers raided Yangon's Mingalar Taungnyunt district and arrested people still on the streets after curfew. Residents heard bangs that could be either stun grenades or gunfire, although there was no protest in the area, they said.

Thursday, March 25

11:30 p.m. The U.S. condemns Myanmar security forces' actions against civilians "in the strongest terms," State Department Spokesperson Ned Price says in a statement following the announcement of sanctions on two Myanmar military-linked companies.

Noting reports of deaths of children as young as 7 years old, Price says the violent acts "further demonstrate the horrific nature of the Burmese military regime's assault on its own people and its complete disregard for the lives of the people of Burma."

Separately, a State Department official says a review has begun on whether to declare the Myanmar military's actions against the Rohingya minority a "genocide."

"I think we will have an answer in the not-too-distant future," Scott Busby, acting principal deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, is quoted as saying at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee subcommittee hearing.

9:00 p.m. Western sanctions have hit arguably their biggest targets in Myanmar so far: two sprawling conglomerates controlled by the country's military.

In a coordinated move with the U.K., the U.S. blacklisted Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC), freezing their assets and blocking Americans from doing business with them.

"In response to the military's refusal to disavow the coup and continuing violence against peaceful protestors, today the United States is taking its most significant action to date to impose costs on the military regime," Secretary of State Antony Blinken says in a statement.

U.K. Foreign Minister Dominic Raab said: "Today's sanctions target the military's financial interests to help drain the sources of finance for their campaigns of repression against civilians.

Any move against these military-controlled groups have implications for foreign investors. Last month, Japanese brewer Kirin Holdings said it was seeking a "swift end" to its business alliance with MEHL, the co-owner of beer joint ventures in the country, in the wake of the coup.

According to a U.S. Treasury Department statement, "MEHL's shareholder data show that profits are systematically distributed to Burma's military, including to those responsible for widespread human rights abuses."

MEC is led by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the head of the military government, the Treasury Department says.

University students and LGBT groups march in Dawei in Myanmar on March 25.   © Dawei Watch via REUTERS

6:30 p.m. A United Nations human rights investigator calls for an emergency summit on Myanmar, saying that the diplomatic response to last month's military coup and the crackdown on dissent was "out of step with the scale of the crisis"

"Conditions in Myanmar are deteriorating," Thomas Andrews, special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, says in a statement. "But they will likely get much worse without an immediate, robust, international response in support of those under siege."

6:00 p.m. Foreign ministers from Indonesia and Singapore once again call on Myanmar's military to stop the use of force to prevent further casualties in the country.

After a meeting in Jakarta with his counterpart, Singapore's foreign minister Vivian Balakrishnan says both countries are "gravely concerned" with the situation in Myanmar, including the loss of human lives and use of lethal arms by the military.

"We both believe that national reconciliation needs to occur and can only occur if both sides actually sit down in good faith, negotiate, and find a solution that works for Myanmar in the long term," he says, adding that there "should be no foreign interference" in resolving the situation.

Indonesia's foreign minister Retno Marsudi says both countries "urge Myanmar to start dialogue to put democracy, peace and stability back on track," and that they support the initiative to hold a summit among ASEAN leaders "in the near future" to discuss the issue.

1:00 p.m. Thousands of pro-democracy activists took to the streets on Thursday, Reuters reports. Street protests were held in Yangon, the central city of Monywa and several other towns, according to witnesses and social media posts.

Police broke up a street demonstration in the city of Mawlamyine and arrested 20 people, the Hinthar Media Corp says. At least two people were injured but there were no other reports immediately of casualties elsewhere.

10:00 a.m. According to Myanmar Now, several staff members of chain stores such as City Mart have been detained for participating in the civil disobedience movement.

9:00 a.m. The Global New Light of Myanmar reports that security forces have arrested 14 youths who were heading for areas controlled by ethnic armed groups. The state-run paper says that the youths were trying to attend an "explosion course."

4:00 a.m. A reminder that Myanmar has underlying problems that began before the Feb. 1 coup and put its people at risk:

"Myanmar is one of the world's 30 high tuberculosis (TB) burden countries, with approximately 150,000 people still developing the disease each year," United Nations Office for Project Services writes. "TB especially affects the urban poor and migrant populations."

World TB Day was observed Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 24

11:30 p.m. A spokesperson for the United Nations secretary-general notes hundreds of protesters were released from detention in Myanmar, but says the U.N. continues to urge that all those held be freed, including State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

"We continue to follow developments closely and are also extremely disturbed over the killing by security forces of a seven-year-old child in her home yesterday," Deputy Spokesperson Farhan Haq says in a note to reporters. "There must be accountability for all the crimes and human rights violations that continue to be perpetrated in Myanmar."

"Ahead of the March 27 Armed Forces Day, we call for maximum restraint," the spokesperson says.

7:50 p.m. Malaysia will postpone planned deportations to Myanmar until after a proposed Association of Southeast Asian Nations emergency regional summit to discuss the post-coup unrest, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with the matter.

Malaysia had faced international criticism for its earlier decision to send people back to Myanmar, where international rights groups say they face a risk of abuse.

Last Friday, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin backed an Indonesian proposal for an emergency ASEAN summit on the Myanmar crisis.

7:00 p.m. People in Myanmar have staged a "silent strike" today, staying home to protest the Feb. 1 military coup.

Wednesday's action by protesters marks a change from the general strike in February, when people took to the streets in massive numbers. This time, protesters called for people to refrain from going out or working, and there were no demonstrations on the streets.

Security forces have forced residents to clear away barricades on the streets in Yangon ahead of the Armed Forces Day holiday on Saturday.

Aung San Suu Kyi's court hearing has been postponed until April 1.   © Reuters

2:00 p.m. A court hearing for ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been postponed until April 1, an aide to her lawyer says, marking the second postponement of her case. Suu Kyi was arrested on Feb. 1 on charges that include illegally importing six handheld radios and breaching coronavirus protocols. In two recent televised news conferences, the military has also accused her of bribery.

1:30 p.m. AP journalist Thein Zaw tells his family he is being released after he was arrested while photographing protests last month.

12:00 p.m. Hundreds of prisoners who had been arrested for protesting the coup are freed from a prison in Yangon, witnesses and domestic media say.

Several buses full of detainees drove out of Insein prison in the morning, said the witnesses, including some lawyers for those arrested. "All the released are the ones arrested due to the protests, as well as night arrests, or those who were out to buy something," said a member of a legal advisory group who said he saw the buses leaving.

Many shops are closed at a local market in Yangon on March 24.

9:00 a.m. Activists plan more anti-coup protests on Wednesday, including a "silent strike," with many businesses due to close and calls for people to stay home. Social media posts and media hint that a range of businesses, from ride hailers to pharmacies plan to close. In what has often become a deadly game of cat and mouse with security forces during street protests, pro-democracy activists have switched tactics.

Tuesday, March 23

11:50 p.m. Some scenes from a candlelight vigil on Tuesday organized by Myanmar expatriates living in New Delhi.

  © Reuters
  © Reuters
  © Reuters

10:20 p.m. A 7-year-old girl has been shot and killed in Mandalay, Reuters reports, citing people working for a funeral service. According to the report, witnesses say the girl was shot in her home when security forces opened fire in the area.

This follows the reported shooting death of a 14-year-old boy on Monday. More than 20 children have been killed in security forces' crackdown since the Feb. 1 coup, according to charity organization Save the Children.

9:20 p.m. A fire at a Rohingya refugee camp in Bangladesh has killed at least 15 people and left more than 560 injured and an estimated 400 people missing, the United Nations Refugee Agency says.

The fire broke out yesterday at the Kutupalong Balukali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, according to UNHCR.

"At least 10,000 shelters are estimated to have been destroyed or damaged, but figures are expected to climb in the coming days as assessments continue," according to the agency. "Refugees who have been displaced are being temporarily accommodated within the camp community."

3:30 p.m. Myanmar's military rulers have no immediate plans to lift restrictions on the internet because violence in the country is being provoked online, a junta spokesman says. Most important to the country is the rule of law and stability, so the internet will be restricted for "a certain time period," spokesman Zaw Min Tun tells a news conference.

He says the military respected the media and although reporting of protests was allowed, leading them was a crime.

Zaw Min Tun accuses protesters for violence and arson, saying nine members of the security forces had been killed.

3:00 p.m. Myanmar activists in Japan call on the Japanese government and the international community to take stronger steps "to stop the killing" in their homeland.

Kyaw Kyaw Soe, a member of the board of directors of the Union of Myanmar Citizens Association in Japan, urged Tokyo to use its clout to speak directly with the generals. "I think the Japanese government has some kind of power -- diplomatic and economic and also political. I think the Japanese government should directly talk to the military leaders," he told a news conference in Tokyo.

10:00 a.m. Hundreds of people held a candlelight vigil in the Ahlone district of Yangon on Monday night, photos posted on social media showed. Three people were killed in Myanmar's second-largest city, Mandalay, in unrest that day, including a 15-year-old boy, witnesses and news reports said. Security forces staged more raids in parts of Yangon on Monday night with shots fired and some people wounded, the Mizzima news service reported.

In Hsipaw, Shan State, the names of protesters who have been killed have been written on cards and placed next to lighted candles, DVB TV News reports. Elsewhere, helium-filled balloons were released on Monday bearing messages calling for international help. Street protesters were replaced by toy cars or dolls, some led by cardboard cutouts or manikins dressed in clothes.

At least 261 people have been killed so far by security forces across the country, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) activist group.

2:30 a.m. Human rights group Global Witness calls the EU sanctions "a disappointingly weak and belated response to the February 1 coup."

"The EU needs to target the economic interests of the military by imposing sanctions on all the companies that generate revenue for and provide support to the military," says Paul Donowitz, Myanmar campaign leader at Global Witness, in a statement.

This includes the military-linked companies Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) and Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Co. Ltd. (MEHL), Donowitz said.

Monday, March 22

10:00 p.m. More Myanmar authorities and organizations have been added to the U.S. Treasury Department's Specially Designated Nationals lets, which lets Washington free their assets and block American people and companies from dealing with them.

They include the chief of the Myanmar police force, Than Hlaing, who also services as deputy minister for home affairs.

The 33rd and 77th light infantry divisions of the Myanmar army are also added to the list. The 33rd light infantry division was reportedly involved in attacks on protesters in Mandalay last month, according to Tom Andrews, the United Nations special rapporteur on Myanmar.

8:30 p.m. European Union foreign ministers have adopted travel bans and asset freezes on people they hold responsible for the Myanmar coup, marking the EU's strongest action to date in response to the ouster of the country's elected government.

Of the 11 people sanctioned, 10 are top military brass, including armed forces Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win.

"The travel ban impedes those listed from entering or transiting through EU territory, while the asset freeze covers the funds or economic resources in the EU of the listed persons," according to a European Council statement. "In addition, EU citizens and companies are forbidden from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities."

Monday's EU actions did not include changes to trade preferences that help Myanmar's garment industry, an important source of jobs and foreign currency. Critics say such a move would hurt ordinary working people.

"The EU will continue to review all of its policy options, including additional restrictive measures against economic entities owned or controlled by the military," the statement says. "At the same time, the EU aims to ensure that its measures do not have an adverse effect on the general population."

One notable objector to Monday's sanctions is Hungary. Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto calls the penalties, along separate ones on Chinese officials, "harmful" and "pointless."

A protester makes the three-finger salute in Yangon as drivers sound their horns as a sign of resistance. 

3:30 p.m. The European Union will on Monday impose sanctions on 11 individuals linked to the coup, the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell says as he arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

"On ... Myanmar we are going to take sanctions against 11 persons involved in the coup and the repression of the demonstrators," Borrell said, adding the situation in the country was deteriorating. The names of the individuals are expected to be made public once the sanctions are formally decided by ministers.

11:30 a.m. Drivers in Yangon sounded their horns on major roads as protest against the coup. Meanwhile, large protests were less visible in central Yangon as the military stepped up its crackdown.

9:30 a.m. To mark the one-month anniversary of one of the biggest demonstrations since the coup and a national strike on Feb. 22, activists on social media urged people to join a car convoy protest on Monday. They want vehicles to drive through intersections honking horns while occupants display three-finger anti-coup salutes. The surging violence has forced many people to think up novel ways to express their rejection of army rule.

6:00 a.m. Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan will visit Brunei on Monday, after which he will travel to Malaysia and Indonesia. Brunei is currently the ASEAN chair. The reason for the visit has not been disclosed, but last week Indonesian President Joko Widodo called on ASEAN leaders to hold a high-level meeting to try and solve the escalating crisis in Myanmar.

Sunday, March 21

11:00 p.m. One person reportedly was shot dead and several wounded when police opened fire on a group installing a barricade in the central town of Monywa. A doctor there said a community group issued a call on Facebook for blood donors. Later, one person was killed and several wounded when security forces fired on a crowd in Mandalay, the Myanmar Now news website reported. At least 249 people have been killed since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group.

Saturday, March 20

1:05 a.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres "strongly condemns the continuing brutal violence by the military in Myanmar," according to a statement by his spokesperson.

"The military continues to defy calls, including by the Security Council, to end violations of fundamental human rights and return to the path of democracy," the statement says "A firm, unified international response is urgently needed."

12:31 a.m. The U.S. House of Representatives approves legislation that condemns the coup in Myanmar and the detention of civilian leaders by a 398-14 vote.

The bill calls for the released of detainees and the return of poser to the elected government.

All 14 who voted against the resolution were Republicans, and one GOP representative voted "present."

Friday, March 19

10:25 p.m. The United Nations acting resident and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, Andrew Kirkwood, gives a grim account of the situation on the ground.

  • At least 2,400 people have been arrested by the security forces in connection with the anti-coup demonstrations, Kirkwood says in an online briefing, adding that "vast majority of these people are held incommunicado still and we're hearing increasing reports of sexual based violence against detainees."
  • The death toll since the Feb. 1 coup stands at 211, "and possibly many more" have been killed, according to Kirkwood. "And I think it's really important to emphasize that many of these people have been killed through gunshots to the head by snipers for peaceful demonstrations."
  • About two million people in Yangon live in areas under martial law "where military commanders now have complete judicial authority," Kirkwood says. Tens of thousands of people have fled these industrial suburbs, he adds.
  • "We're also very worried about an impending health and humanitarian crisis," Kirkwood says. "The public health system has practically collapsed." A banking crisis has added to the disruption of supply chains, he says.

9:50 p.m. In case you missed Nikkei Asia's webinar "Myanmar's coup: How should the world react?" this week, watch it here.

8:45 p.m. Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin "strongly" urges Myanmar's military "to change its course and choose a path toward peaceful solutions."

"We in Malaysia, and the larger ASEAN community, cannot afford to see our brotherly nation of Myanmar become so destabilized at the hands of a selected few, who seek to promote their own vested interests," the prime minister says in a statement.

Muhyiddin says he backs Indonesian President Joko Widodo's call for an emergency ASEAN summit on the crisis in Myanmar.

"It is clear that the current political struggle only victimizes the common people of Myanmar," the prime minister says. "This has no place in the values of our beliefs, conscience and culture.

"It contradicts the the principles enshrined in the Asian Charter," he adds.

Muhyiddin had been the target of criticism from human rights groups last month after Malaysia deported more than 1,000 Myanmar nationals back to their homeland despite growing unrest in the country. The deportations defied a Kuala Lumpur High Court order to halt them.

8:00 p.m. A reporter for the BBC Burmese service has been detained in Myanmar, the BBC reports.

Aung Thura "was taken away by men in plainclothes while reporting outside a court" in Naypyitaw, according to the report, which adds that Than Htike Aung, a reporter for local news organization Mizzima, was detained at the same time.

6:25 p.m. Ambassadors from a lengthy list of Western countries have issued a statement calling the junta's violence against unarmed civilians "immoral and indefensible."

"Internet blackouts and the suppression of the media will not hide the military's abhorrent actions," reads the statement from several European Union members along with the U.K. and U.S.

5:00 p.m. Japanese Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi says in parliament that the government will not be sending anyone, including military attaches, to Myanmar's Armed Forces Day ceremony scheduled for March 27.

4:00 p.m. Thailand's army chief rebuts reports that a refugee camp has been set up along the border with Myanmar for those fleeing the crackdown there. He says the temporary facility in question is there for humanitarian reasons and will be used to screen people entering the country.

Tense neighborhood: Thai border guards patrol at the Myanmar border in Mae Sot.   © Reuters

2:10 p.m. Security forces open fire during a confrontation with opponents of the Feb. 1 military coup in the central town of Aungban, killing eight people, the Myanmar Now news portal said. Seven people were killed in the town and one wounded person died after being taken to hospital in the nearby town of Kalaw, the portal said, citing Aungban's funerary service.

12:00 p.m. Indonesian President Joko Widodo calls for democracy to be restored and violence to end in Myanmar, and for Southeast Asian leaders to hold a high-level meeting to discuss the situation there. "I will immediately call the Sultan of Brunei Darussalam, as head of ASEAN, to as soon as possible hold a high-level ASEAN meeting to discuss the crisis in Myanmar," Widodo said in an online address.

10:00 a.m. The business sector in Myanmar is struggling to make payments. Commercial transactions and wage payments are being disrupted because many bankers are refusing to come to work in protest of the coup.

9:00 a.m. National League for Democracy spokesman Kyi Toe was arrested Thursday night for unknown reasons, according to the party.

Riot police officers detain a demonstrator during a protest against the coup in Yangon on March 19.   © Reuters

3:20 a.m. The Irrawaddy's English edition reports that police and soldiers fired live rounds at the maternity ward of a Yangon hospital Thursday night. No injuries were reported.

2:00 a.m. Internet access in Myanmar has been restricted for another night, reports NetBlocks, the self-described "Internet's observatory."

Thursday, March 18

10:00 p.m. The international community faces a delicate balancing act in responding to Myanmar's worst crisis in decades -- and dwindling time to get it right -- experts say in a webinar organized by Nikkei Asia.

"Blanket sanctions do not work," says Thiri Thant Mon, managing partner of Pegu Partners, a capital and strategy advisory firm in Yangon.

"Just turning off all the taps and squeezing the country out of its ability to have a living is not helping ... and is not going to hurt the people that the outside world wants to hurt."

Read more about the webinar highlights here.

5:00 p.m. A mobile internet blackout continues throughout the country, making it difficult for protesters to gather. Public Wi-Fi has also been out of service since the morning.

4:00 p.m. The crackdown intensifies in Tamwe Township, Yangon. Witnesses say police have ordered one person from each household to participate in removing barricades on the streets. At least 30 residents and protesters were also arrested.

12:30 p.m. Several thousand people marched in the small town of Natmauk, the Democratic Voice of Burma reports. The central town is the birthplace of Aung San, the leader of Myanmar's drive for independence from colonial power Britain and Suu Kyi's father. There were no reports of violence.

10:00 a.m. According to witnesses, police and the army are stopping pedestrians and drivers on the streets, ordering them to dismantle barricades set up by protesters in Yangon. A state newspaper reports, on the other hand, that residents doing so voluntarily.

9:00 a.m. The number of demonstrations overnight is dwindling as the crackdown has intensified over the past few days.

2:15 a.m. A United Nations-backed team of investigators urges people in Myanmar who receive orders to commit acts against international law to come forward with evidence that can be use to prosecute leaders.

"The persons most responsible for the most serious international crimes are usually those in high leadership positions," says Nicholas Koumjian, head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, in a statement.

"They are not the ones who physically perpetrate the crimes and often are not even present at the locations where the crimes are committed," says Koumjian, who handled cases including senior Khmer Rouge leaders. "To prove their responsibility requires evidence of reports received, orders given and how policies were set."

The investigators urge whistleblowers who provide evidence "do so safely and with an abundance of caution," according to the statement.

The independent team says it "collecting evidence regarding arbitrary arrests, torture, enforced disappearances and the use of force, including lethal force, against those peacefully opposing the coup."

1:00 a.m. Five privately run newspapers in Myanmar are now out of print, the result of a combination of tighter government controls on the flow of information and concerns about the safety of delivery workers.

They include The Standard Time Daily, which halted publication on Tuesday, saying it would resume once transportation conditions improved. Its decision comes after martial law was imposed in some areas of Yangon.

These newspapers, which also include 7Day News and The Myanmar Times, became a symbol of the country's experiment with democracy in the decade before the Feb. 1 coup.

Protesters run as security forces move against them in Hlaing Township in Yangon on March 17.   © Reuters


To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.

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