As Myanmar’s military celebrated the annual Armed Forces Day holiday with a parade Saturday in the country's capital, soldiers and police elsewhere reportedly killed dozens of people as they suppressed protests in the deadliest bloodletting since last month's coup. A count issued by an independent researcher in Yangon who's been compiling near-real-time death tolls put the total as darkness fell at 93, spread over more than two dozen cities and towns. The online news site Myanmar Now reported the death toll had reached 91. Both numbers are higher than all estimates for the previous high on March 14, which ranged in counts from 74 to 90. Figures collected by the researcher have generally tallied with the counts issued at the end of each day by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests and is widely seen as a definitive source. The AP has been unable to independently confirm the death tolls.
The killings quickly drew international condemnation. "Today is a day of shame for the armed forces," a spokesman for CRPH, an anti-junta group organized by deposed lawmakers, said in an online forum, per CNN. "The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts," the EU's delegation to Myanmar posted on Twitter. The death toll in Myanmar has been steadily rising as authorities grow more forceful with their suppression of opposition to the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Up through Friday, the AAPP had verified 328 people killed in the post-coup crackdown. When the military government does release casualty numbers, the totals have been a fraction of what independent parties such as the UN have reported. It has said its use of force has been justified to stop what it has called rioting.
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