UK to Consider ‘Further Measures’ After Bloody Burma Crackdown

February 20, 2021 Updated: February 20, 2021

Britain said on Saturday evening that it will consider “further measures” after Burmese police and soldiers opened fire at protesters earlier in the day.

Two people were killed in Burma’s second city Mandalay on Saturday when police and soldiers fired to disperse protests against the Feb. 1 military coup, the bloodiest day in more than two weeks of demonstrations. Burma is also known as Myanmar.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The UK condemns the shooting of peaceful protesters, which only places the military regime further beyond the pale.”

“We will consider further measures, with our international partners, to hold to account those responsible for crushing democracy and choking dissent,” he said in a statement.

Burma’s military seized power on Feb. 1 and arrested leaders of the civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

Burma
A soldier (C) carries a sniper rifle during a demonstration against the military coup where security forces fired on protesters in Mandalay on Feb. 20, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

More than a fortnight later, demonstrations against the coup and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes and disruptions show no sign of dying down.

The British government accused Burma’s military and police of committing “serious human rights violations, including violating the right to life, the right to freedom of assembly, the right not to be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention, and the right to freedom of expression.”

On Thursday, Britain, working in tandem with Canada, imposed asset freezes and travel bans against three members of the Burmese junta for their roles in “serious human rights violations” during the coup.

In addition to the sanctions, the government said it is stepping up its effort to stop UK businesses working with the Burmese military junta.

The UK’s Foreign Office and Department for International Trade have launched an enhanced due diligence process to mitigate the risk of Burmese junta-related businesses operating in the UK and associated illicit money flows.

Also, the UK is putting in place further safeguards to prevent UK aid from indirectly supporting the military-led government.

The government has axed official assistance to Burma in support of government-led reforms, and will ensure its aid is reaching only the poorest and most vulnerable in the country.

Reuters contributed to this report.