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More Myanmar protests amid world concern

Protesters against the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar have returned to the streets of the country’s biggest city, a day after a call for a general strike closed shops and brought huge numbers out to demonstrate.

Numbers were down from Monday’s massive crowds, but around 1,000 people in Yangon gathered at the city’s Hledan Centre, a major meeting point for protesters, with other groups assembling at other venues.

In Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, a funeral was held for 37-year-old Thet Naing Win, one of two protesters shot dead by security forces on Saturday.

He and a teenage boy were killed when police and soldiers opened fire on a crowd that had gathered to support dock workers. They have been on strike, as have many civil servants and state workers, as part of a nationwide civil obedience movement against the military takeover on February 1.

The military said it took power because last November’s election was marked by widespread voting irregularities, an assertion that was refuted by the state election commission, whose members have since been replaced by the ruling junta.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won a landslide victory at the polls, which would have installed her government for a second five-year term in power. However, the army blocked parliament from convening and detained Ms Suu Kyi and President Win Myint and other top members of her government.

The junta has said it will rule for a year under a state of emergency and then hold fresh elections.

There’s been a flurry of diplomatic activity abroad, as international concern about the situation remained high.

The foreign ministers of G7 countries released a joint statement on Tuesday condemning ‘the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup’ and describing the use of violence against protesters as unacceptable.

The United States and several Western governments had earlier called for the junta to refrain from violence, release detainees and restore Ms Suu Kyi’s government. On Monday, the US said it was imposing sanctions against more junta members because of the killings of peaceful protesters by security forces.

Britain and Canada have taken similar action.

European Union foreign ministers ordered a series of measures to be drawn up to target those responsible for the coup. They said the EU is ready “to adopt restrictive measures targeting those directly responsible” for the coup.

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