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US Hits Myanmar with Sanctions on Anniversary of Military Coup

FILE - Protesters march through the streets during an anti-government demonstration in Mandalay, Myanmar, Dec. 7, 2021.
FILE - Protesters march through the streets during an anti-government demonstration in Mandalay, Myanmar, Dec. 7, 2021.

On the first anniversary of the February 1 military coup in Myanmar, the United States announced more sanctions on individuals and entities associated with the regime, the Treasury Department said Monday.

The UK and Canada also announced sanctions.

“One year after the coup, the United States, along with allies in the United Kingdom and Canada, stands with the people of Burma as they seek freedom and democracy,” said Brian Nelson, the Treasury undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence in a statement. “We will continue to target those responsible for the coup and ongoing violence, enablers of the regime’s brutal repression, and their financial supporters.”

Among those sanctioned were Union Attorney General Thida Oo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo, and Chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission Tin Oo.

Two entities sanctioned are KT Services & Logistics Company Limited and the Directorate of Procurement of the Commander-In-Chief of Defense Services, which the U.S. says support the military regime.

“The United States will continue to work with our international partners to address human rights abuses and press the regime to cease the violence, release all those unjustly detained, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and restore Burma’s path to democracy,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement, using an older name for the country.

The individuals and entities targeted will have any assets in the U.S. restricted or blocked.

The military seized power in a February 1, 2021 coup, overthrowing the civilian government and detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other high-ranking officials.

The U.S. has accused the regime of engaging in “brutal acts of violence against pro-democracy protesters.” An estimated 1,500 people have been killed in violent protests.

The U.S. government has called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy Party, ousted President Win Myint, and protesters, journalists and human rights activists it says have been unjustly detained since the coup.

Military officials claimed widespread fraud in the November 2020 general election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide, as justification for the February takeover. The fraud allegations have been denied by Myanmar’s electoral commission.

The political unrest on top of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have caused economic hardship in Myanmar with rising food prices and increasing unemployment.