Deadly unrest continues to grip Myanmar as ongoing protests challenge the country's Feb. 1 military coup and President Biden and regional leaders are urging the restoration of democracy in that country.
Several more protesters were killed early Saturday, after 12 died on Thursday, reporter Michael Sullivan tells NPR. Reuters says at least six protesters have been killed in the past day.
Three died and several were injured when police opened fire on a sit-in protest in Mandalay, Myanmar's second-biggest city, Reuters said, citing witness accounts. Reuters said another person was killed in the town of Pyay and two died in the commercial capital Yangon, according to domestic media.
More than 70 people have been killed by security forces since the military overthrew the country's fragile democracy six weeks ago, according to U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Thomas Andrews.
"The junta is detaining dozens, sometimes hundreds, every day. As of last night, the total number of arbitrary arrests and detentions since 1 February had risen beyond 2,000," Andrews said Thursday.
After analyzing more than 50 videos of protest killings, Amnesty International concluded in a report on Thursday that the security forces were using battlefield weaponry on protesters. The report describes commanders ordering extrajudicial killings and in other cases spraying bullets indiscriminately.
In response to the violence, the Biden administration has announced that it will grant temporary protected status to migrants from Myanmar. The new policy will allow migrants already in the United States to remain for the time being.
"Due to the military coup and security forces' brutal violence against civilians, the people of Burma are suffering a complex and deteriorating humanitarian crisis in many parts of the country," Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in a statement, using the former name of Myanmar.
The policy only applies to those already in the United States, and won't expand to include those fleeing Myanmar.
In a meeting Friday, the leaders of Australia, India, Japan and the United States — known as the Quad — urged the restoration of democracy in Myanmar.
"As long-standing supporters of Myanmar and its people, we emphasize the urgent need to restore democracy and the priority of strengthening democratic resilience," the leaders said.