YANGON: Security forces sprayed gunfire during pre-dawn patrols of Myanmar’s biggest city on Thursday, as the UN condemned the growing violence agains…

YANGON: Security forces sprayed gunfire during pre-dawn patrols of Myanmars biggest city on Thursday, as the UN condemned the growing violence against protestors angry over the six-week-old coup.
International pressure has been building steadily since the military ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb 1, triggering daily demonstrations around the country.
The UN Security Council unanimously agreed on a statement Wednesday condemning the Myanmar militarys use of violence against peaceful anti-coup protesters.
It was the second time in just over a month that the councils 15 members, including China a traditional ally of Myanmars generals made a rare show of unity over the crisis.
Now its time for de-escalation. Its time for diplomacy. Its time for dialogue, the UNs Chinese ambassador Zhang Jun said.
The United States also applied fresh pressure with sanctions against two adult children of Myanmar junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing.
In Yangons central Sanchaung township people had another sleepless night as security forces raided apartments searching for lost police weapons.
They used sound bombs on every street, said one resident.
We are asking friends who are outside of their homes not to come back here tonight because of the situation.
Sanchaung has been a flashpoint of tensions all week on Monday night security forces sealed off a block of streets, confining around 200 anti-coup protesters before searching apartments.
Many enemies
State-run newspaper the Mirror on Thursday carried an announcement that the Arakan Army (AA) which fights for more autonomy for the ethnic Rakhine population in northern Rakhine state was no longer considered a terrorist organisation.
The AA has been locked in battle with the military for nearly two years in a conflict that has left hundreds killed and some 200,000 civilians forced to flee their homes.
Herve Lemahieu, a Myanmar expert from Australias Lowy Institute, said the move was likely because the military known as the Tatmadaw wanted to end the distraction of fighting the AA in the north so it could focus on the protests.
The Tatmadaw has many enemies, they dont want to operate on too many fronts at once and the most pressing front at this point in time is against the ethnic Burman majority in the major urban centres, he told AFP.
Another part of Yangon, North Okkalapa, was also reeling after 300 arrests on Wednesday, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.
One person was shot with live ammunition during the crackdown and is in a critical condition, the monitoring group said.
Battlefield weapons
London-based Myanmar activist Wai Hnin Pwint Thon, the daughter of Mya Aye, a veteran pro-democracy leader who was rearrested in the days after the February 1 coup, gave emotional testimony to a United States Senate committee.
Her father was one of the leaders of the 88 Generation, a veteran pro-democracy group that came of age during an uprising against junta rule in 1988.
Her first memory of her father was seeing him through the bars of a jail cell.
I am heartbroken and angry at the same time that so many children will now have to go through what I went through, growing up without a parent, not knowing if or when they will ever be freed. This has to stop. Decade after decade, generation after generation. It never stops, she said.
An Amnesty International report on Thursday accused the military of using battlefield weapons on unarmed protesters and carrying out premeditated killings orchestrated by their commanding officers.
The rights group catalogued the security forces use of firearms that are completely inappropriate for use in policing protests, including light machine guns, sniper rifles and semi-automatic rifles.
Make no mistake, we are in a deadly new phase of the crisis, Amnestys Joanne Mariner said.
The military has defended its takeover citing voting irregularities in November elections, won by Suu Kyis National League of Democracy party. AFP