At least 82 people were killed in one day in a crackdown by Myanmar security forces on pro-democracy protesters, according to reports Saturday from independent local media and an organization that keeps track of casualties since the military’s February seizure of power. Friday's death toll in Bago was the biggest one-day total for a single city since March 14, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country’s biggest city. Bago is about 60 miles northeast of Yangon, per the AP, which is unable to independently verify the number of deaths. The death toll of 82 was a preliminary one compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which issues daily counts of casualties and arrests from the crackdown in the aftermath of the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. The tallies are widely accepted as credible because cases are not added to the totals until they have been confirmed, with the details published on the group's website.
In its Saturday report, the group said that it expected the number of dead in Bago to rise as more cases were verified. Myanmar Now and other local media said the bodies had been collected by the military and dumped on the grounds of a Buddhist pagoda. At least 701 protesters and bystanders have been killed by security forces since the army's takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The attack on Bago was the third in the past week involving a massive use of force to try to crush the persistent opposition to the ruling junta. Attacks were launched Wednesday on opponents of military rule who had set up strongholds in the towns of Kalay and Taze. In both places, at least 11 people—possibly including bystanders—were reported killed. The UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, arrived Friday in the Thai capital of Bangkok on a regional mission to resolve the crisis in Myanmar. She intends to sound out several Southeast Asian governments for ideas but has been denied permission to visit Myanmar.
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