Australian foreign minister Marise Payne said that the country has decided to cut defense ties with Myanmar amidst growing concerns over the escalating violence and death toll. The announcement comes as the military regime in Burma stepped up its crackdown against anti-coup protesters, who are demanding the restoration of civilian government as well as an immediate release of NLD leaders.
After the army took control of the government and detained Aung San Suu Kyi, the country has plunged into chaos. The coup has not only attracted international criticism but has also triggered a nationwide disobedience movement and mass protests that have so far killed dozens of people. Payne further urged the country’s military to exercise restraint and decrease violence against civilians.
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The bilateral defense ties between Myanmar and Australia are restricted non-combat areas, including the English-language training that even continued after 2017’s genocide against the Rohingya Muslims, which led to hundreds of thousands of residents leaving the country. The London-based organization called the Burma Campaign urged the twelve countries still providing training to Myanmar, including India, Pakistan, China, and Ukraine, should impose a complete arms embargo on the country.
On Monday, Payne added that the Australian government will immediately redirect humanitarian needs to Rohingya Muslims, bypassing the military regime. Australia stated that it would continue to demand an immediate release of Suu Kyi and her advisor Sean Turnell, who has been detained with limited consular access since the coup unfolded.
On the other hand, after huge demonstrations on Sunday, the local trade unions across Myanmar have called for a general strike from Monday. With police and security forces using tear gas, live bullets, and stun grenades, the protests triggered a harsh response. Meanwhile, the law enforcement officers were deployed outside the public buildings across the country. A local organization claimed that since the couple, a total of 1,790 people had been detained by the military, with 1,472 still in custody.
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