Protests called on Myanmar's Armed Forces Day

Myanmar's military is stepping up its crackdown while preparing for this weekend's Armed Forces Day.
Despite pressure from the authorities, protesters continue to rally against the coup.

People took to the streets on Friday in the largest city, Yangon, to demand an end to the dictatorship ahead of Saturday's major military parade in the capital Naypyitaw.

A local human rights group says 320 people have been killed since the February 1 coup, including 11 on Thursday. Protesters are calling for nationwide demonstrations on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the foreign ministers of Indonesia and Singapore met on Thursday in Jakarta. Both shared their concerns over the situation in Myanmar.

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said, "We also shared our position to call on the Myanmar military to stop the use of force and prevent further casualties. We also urged Myanmar to start a dialogue to put democracy, peace and stability back on track."

The US Treasury Department has slapped sanctions on Myanmar's two conglomerates which it says are owned or controlled by the military. The sanctions include a freeze on the companies' properties in the US, and a ban on US citizens and US-owned firms from doing business with them.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken described the sanctions as Washington's "most significant action to date" against the junta.

Blinken also offered his condolences to families and friends of the victims of the crackdowns. He mentioned the 7-year-old girl who was shot and killed by security forces in her home in Mandalay on Tuesday, calling such actions "abhorrent" and "brutal."