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Myanmar’s Buddhist monk group pans military coup

People have continued to protest against the military coup in Myanmar

Myanmar's government-appointed body representing Buddhist monks has opposed the bloody crackdown by the military junta in the country that has left more than 200 dead.

The draft statement by the State Sangha Mahanayaka Committee called upon the military junta to 'immediately halt' firing on demonstrators.

"Killing peaceful protesters must stop," the statement said.

The final draft will be released by the Sangha Maha Nayaka committee on Thursday after it is discussed with the religious affairs minister, a monk close to the government-appointed organisation told IANS.

When that happens, it might be the most forthright condemnation of the military's bloody crackdown on pro-democracy protests since the February 1 military takeover.

Buddhist monks, often the most revered in Myanmar and whose numbers run in thousands, have often led pro-democracy movements in the country.

They were at the forefront of a 2007 "Saffron Revolution" against military rule, that paved the way for the 2008 military drafted Constitution and subsequent elections in the country.

The military tried to swing the Buddhist clergy their way by secretly funding radical groups such as Ashin Wirathu's Ma Ba Tha and playing on the Bamar Buddhist identity during the 2017 turmoil in Rakhine state when Rohingya Muslim rebels attacked more than twenty police stations.

Myanmar has been plunged into chaos since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government on Feb. 1, detaining her and members of her party.

That has provoked substantial global outrage.

Ousted members of parliament, mostly from Suu Kyi's NLD party, are working for a united stand against the military takeover in the ethnically diverse country.

The NLD has promised a comprehensive national peace process, saying the designation of terrorist would be lifted from all autonomy-seeking insurgents fighting for democracy.

More than 200 protesters have been killed as security forces try to crush a wave of demonstrations, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group says.

Protesters in Yangon confronted security forces over a sand-bag barricade on one street in Yangon.

Police opened intermittent fire on Wednesday and one man appeared to get shot in the head, according to footage on social media.