Obama ‘appalled’ by anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar

Washington: Former US President Barack Obama on Monday (local time) said he was “appalled” by the violence against civilians in Myanmar following a military coup in February.

“The world’s attention must remain on Myanmar, where I’ve been appalled by heartbreaking violence against civilians and inspired by the nationwide movement that represents the voice of the people,” Obama said in a statement, as quoted by The Hill. “The military’s illegitimate and brutal effort to impose its will after a decade of greater freedoms will clearly never be accepted by the people and should not be accepted by the wider world.”

Ever since the military removed the democratically elected government from power, widespread protests have broken out across Myanmar, leading to hundreds of people, including children, being killed by the military.

According to The Hill, Obama voiced his support for the sanctions the Biden administration has imposed on Myanmar’s military in response to the violence against civilians. The sanctions have targeted high ranking military members as well as government-owned businesses that support the military regime.

“Myanmar’s neighbours should recognize that a murderous regime rejected by the people will only bring greater instability, humanitarian crisis, and the risk of a failed state,” Obama, who spent part of his childhood in Southeast Asia in Indonesia, said.

“These are dark times, but I have been moved by the unity, resilience, and commitment to democratic values demonstrated by so many Burmese, which offers hope for the kind of future Myanmar can have through leaders who respect the will of the people,” Obama added.

The Hill further reported that on Saturday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced that it had reached an agreement with Myanmar’s military junta in an effort to end the ongoing violence in the country, drafting a “Five-Point Consensus.”

The consensus agreed on an “immediate cessation of violence,” peaceful solutions in the interest of the people, a mediated dialogue process with a special envoy from the ASEAN Chair, humanitarian aid from ASEAN and a visit by a delegation to meet with concerned parties.

Myanmar’s military carried out a coup on February 1, arresting top officials over alleged electoral fraud and declaring a one-year state of emergency.

The military takeover triggered mass protests which led to violent clashes and brutal suppression of peaceful demonstrators. More than 700 people have been killed over 2.5 months of protests while thousands of others have been detained.

The international community has largely condemned the military junta. Some countries introduced sanctions against those involved in violence.