U.S. blacklists two Myanmar generals over protest crackdown

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken reiterated Monday that the United States stands with the people of Myanmar after their military seized control of the country early this month in a coup. Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/UPI

Feb. 23 (UPI) — The Biden administration late Monday blacklisted two Myanmar generals in response to recent killings of civilian protesters by security forces in the Southeast Asian nation.

The U.S. Treasury froze the property and assets of Lt. Gen. Moe Myint Tun and Gen. Maung Muang Kyaw, who are members of the State Administration Council, which the Myanmar military — known as the Tatmadaw — established to rule the country after it usurped the government from its civilian leaders on Feb. 1.

The Tatmadaw conducted the coup citing irregularities during November’s parliamentary elections that saw the party of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s civilian leader, win by a landslide.

Suu Kyi and other leading officials and activists were arrested and a yearlong state of emergency was declared, completing the military coup.

In the weeks since, protesters have taken to the streets in mass demonstrations despite being confronted by increasing displays of state violence.

On Saturday, two demonstrators were killed, and the Treasury said the sanctions were in response to the killings of peaceful protesters.

“The Treasury Department stands with the people of Burma as they work to secure freedom and democracy and remains committed to promoting accountability for those responsible for the coup and ongoing violence,” the federal agency said in a statement, referring to the nation by its former name. “The military must reverse its actions and urgently restore the democratically elected government in Burma, or the Treasury Department will not hesitate to take further action.”

The punitive move was imposed weeks after the United States sanctioned six military officers who led the coup, four State Administration Council members, and three military-owned businesses.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that the United States condemns the state violence that has killed at least four people and injured more than 40 others as well as the ongoing arrests and detention of hundreds of politicians, human rights defenders and peaceful protesters.

According to data from Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 684 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the Feb. 1 coup.

“The U.S. stands with the people of Burma who demand the restoration of the democratically elected government,” Blinken tweeted late Monday. “Today’s designations are another step to promote accountability for military leaders who perpetrate violence and attempt to suppress the will of the people.”

The sanctions also bar U.S. citizens from doing business with the two generals.


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