UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called for an “immediate end to military repression” in Myanmar on Thursday, amid increasing levels of instability in the country.
Writing on Twitter, Johnson said he was “horrified by the escalation of violence in Myanmar and the killing of pro-democracy protesters.”
“We stand with the people of Myanmar in calling for an immediate end to military repression, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and the restoration of democracy,” Johnson said.
I’m horrified by the escalation of violence in Myanmar and the killing of pro-democracy protesters.
We stand with the people of Myanmar in calling for an immediate end to military repression, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and the restoration of democracy.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 4, 2021
His comments follow the deaths of dozens of people during demonstrations against the military government that took power on 1 February.
Over 50 people have been killed in protests in Myanmar since the coup – of the 54 deaths recorded, at least 30 people lost their lives in the cities of Yangon, Mandalay, Sagaing, Magway, and Mon at the hands of security forces on Wednesday, UN sources claim.
Britain has introduced a number of sanctions on top generals in the Myanmar army as a result.
Some South East Asian countries, however, have rebuked the sanctions by Western powers.
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong told the BBC on Tuesday that sanctions are counter-productive and only serve to harm the population of Myanmar and push the government towards other trading partners such as China.
“You can ostracise them, condemn them, and pass resolutions or not, but it really has very little influence,” Mr Lee said.
“We have to express disapproval for what is done, which is against the values of many other countries, and in fact a large part of humanity. But to say that I will take action against them, where does this lead?”
On 10 February, US President Joe Biden announced sanctions on military leaders and business operations linked to the armed forces.
Following the coup, the army declared martial law and introduced a nightly curfew, while also banning gatherings of more than five people.
However, there have been large protests in response to the forced change in power and a mass civil disobedience campaign remains ongoing.
The military seized power just hours before the new parliament was set to return after the November elections, where Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a massive victory.
According to the military, they were responding to “election fraud” during the national poll.