By Beyza Binnur Donmez
ANKARA (AA) – Members of the G7 and the EU "firmly" condemned violence by Myanmar's security forces against peaceful protests following the seizure of power by that country’s military.
"The military and the police must exercise utmost restraint and respect human rights and international law," G7 foreign ministers and EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, said in a joint statement that was released by the US State Department.
"Use of live ammunition against unarmed people is unacceptable. Anyone responding to peaceful protests with violence must be held to account," said the group. "We condemn the intimidation and oppression of those opposing the coup."
They raised concern about "the crackdown on freedom of expression" through an internet blackout and "draconian" changes to the law.
"The systematic targeting of protesters, doctors, civil society and journalists must stop, and the state of emergency must be revoked," the G7 urged.
Myanmar's military declared a state of emergency Feb. 1, hours after detaining de facto leader and State Counsellor Suu Kyi and senior members of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).
The coup took place hours before the first session of the country's new parliament was set to convene following elections in November, in which the NLD made sweeping gains.
The military claimed the coup was staged due to "election fraud" at the polls that it said resulted in the dominance of the NLD in parliament. The forced change of power ignited nationwide anti-coup protests.
The group reiterated its call for an "immediate and unconditional" release of those detained arbitrarily and voiced commitment to stand with the people of Myanmar in their search for democracy and freedom.
The G7, a group of the world’s seven major economic powers, comprises the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan.