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Myanmar military leader says army aims to ‘safeguard democracy’ as security forces kill dozens of protesters

Myanmar’s security forces reportedly killed 114 people across the country during Saturday protests, Reuters and Myanmar Now report.

Saturday has turned into the deadliest day since demonstrations against the Feb. 1 military coup began more than a month ago, and more than 400 people have been killed overall. A 13-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy were reportedly among at least 13 people killed in Myanmar’s second most populous city, Mandalay, while another 13-year-old was reportedly killed in another village. Despite the violence, there was once again no sign of the movement abating. “They are killing us like birds or chickens in our homes,” Thu Ya Zaw told Reuters. “We will keep protesting regardless … We must fight until the junta falls.”

As the protests and killings took place, the military celebrated Armed Forces Day, and the junta’s leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said “the army seeks to join hands with the entire nation to safeguard democracy,” but “violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate.” Dr. Sasa, a spokesman for the anti-coup group CRPH, said it was “a day of shame for the armed forces.” Read more at Reuters and Al Jazeera.

This story has been updated to reflect an increase in the number of deaths reported.

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