Myanmar’s military has imposed martial law across more districts following one of the deadliest days of protests since February’s coup.
At least 21 people were reportedly killed in the city of Yangon on Sunday, with additional deaths reported across the South-east Asian nation.
The violence came a day before the country’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi was due to appear in court.
She is due to face a slew of charges her supporters say are fabricated.
Pro-democracy protesters are demanding the release Ms Suu Kyi, the head of the National League for Democracy (NLD) which saw a landslide victory in elections last November. She has been held at an unknown location since the 1 February coup.
The military detained most of the NLD leadership after the coup, alleging voter fraud. No proof has been provided.
The military initially declared martial law in the two districts of Yangon on Sunday after Chinese businesses were attacked. adding more on Monday.
Protesters believe China is giving support to the Burmese military but it is unclear who was behind the weekend attacks.
Sunday is thought to be the bloodiest day so so far since the takeover in February. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group said the day’s death toll was at least 38.
In total, more than 120 protesters have reportedly been killed during the crackdown, according to the AAPP monitoring group.
What is Ms Suu Kyi charged with?
The ousted civilian leader was due in court earlier on Monday, although she was not expected in person.
She is facing charges including “fear and alarm”, illegally possessing radio equipment, and breaking Covid rules.
The charges against Ms Suu Kyi carry sentences of several years in jail and could also lead to her being barred from running in future elections if convicted.
Last week, the military also accused the ousted leader of illegally accepting $600,000 (£430,000) and 11kg of gold – a claim the NLD denies.
Ousted MPs call for ‘revolution’
Some of the ousted MPs have refused to accept last month’s coup and have gone into hiding.
In his first public address, their leader Mahn Win Khaing Than urged protesters to defend themselves against the military crackdown during what he called a “revolution”.
“This is the darkest moment of the nation and the moment that the dawn is close,” he said, adding: “The uprising must win.”
The military considers the CRPH to be an illegal group, warning that anyone co-operating with them will face treason charges.
What’s the background?
Independent international observers have disputed the military’s claim of the fraudulent election held in November 2020, saying no irregularities were observed.
Since the coup the military has used violent force to try to quell protests, leaving dozens dead and prompting widespread international condemnation
The US has announced sanctions on coup leaders, while steps are also being taken to block access by the military to $1bn of government funds held in the US.
The military has dismissed criticism of its actions, instead blaming Ms Suu Kyi for the violence.