G7 countries condemn 'oppression' of Myanmar protesters after two shot dead

23 February 2021, 10:23 | Updated: 23 February 2021, 10:43

Anti-coup protesters outside the Hledan Centre in Yangon, Myanmar
Anti-coup protesters outside the Hledan Centre in Yangon, Myanmar. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Foreign ministers from the G7 nations have condemned the "intimidation and oppression" of Myanmar protesters after two were shot dead following the country's military coup.

The group, which includes Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and ministers from countries including the US, France and Germany, warned anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence "must be held to account".

Two protesters were shot dead during clashes over the weekend.

READ MORE: UK to 'consider further action' against Myanmar after protesters shot

Protests against the junta continued on Tuesday and the G7 group called for the security forces to "exercise utmost restraint" and respect human rights.

A joint statement said: "Use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to account.

"We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup.

"We raise our concern at the crackdown on freedom of expression, including through the internet blackout and draconian changes to the law that repress free speech.

Protesters have demanded the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi
Protesters have demanded the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Picture: PA

"The systematic targeting of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists must stop and the state of emergency must be revoked."

The G7 again called for the release of Myanmar's civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and President Win Myint.

The UK holds the presidency of the G7, which also includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US, plus the European Union.

On Monday, Myanmar's ambassador to the UK was summoned to the Foreign Office for the second time this month.

Minister for Asia Nigel Adams told Kyaw Zwar Minn the use of force against protesters is "completely reprehensible and must stop".