US designates 2 Myanmar firms over military link

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ANKARA

The US on Thursday designated two entities linked to coup leaders in Myanmar in response to continuing violence against peaceful protestors by the military.

Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Limited (MEHL) and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited (MEC), the two largest military holding companies in the country, were sanctioned because “all shares in them are held and managed by current or former Burmese military officers, regiments, and units, and organizations led by former service members,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

“These actions will specifically target those who led the coup, the economic interests of the military, and the funding streams supporting the Burmese military’s brutal repression,” said Blinken. “They are not directed at the people of Burma.”

He added that Washington is taking this step alongside the UK, which announced similar action against MEHL.

Myanmar has seen large protests since the military declared a state of emergency on Feb. 1 after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and senior members of the then-ruling National League for Democracy.

At least 275 protesters, including women and children, have been killed since the power seizure by the military, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

The group said as many as 2,812 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced in cases related to anti-coup protests.

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