YANGON, Myanmar 

Myanmar’s coup regime imposed martial law in nine more townships in Yangon and Mandalay cities on Monday, a day after security forces shot down nearly 40 protesters demanding the restoration of civilian rule. 

State-run TV channels MRTV and Myawaddy announced that the military junta proclaimed martial law in the townships of Aungmyay Thazan, Chan Aye Thazan, Maha Aung Myay, Pyi Gyi Tagon, and Chan Mya Thazi in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city. 

Martial law was also declared in Yangon’s North Dagon, North Okalapa, South Dagon, and Dagon Seik Kan townships, according to the state-run television. 

Following violence that left 34 people dead and many more injured, martial law was already declared on Sunday in Hlaing Thar Yar and Shwe Pyi Thar, two industrial cities in Yangon. 

According to local media, two more later succumbed to their injuries, and four more people died in Bago, Mandalay, and Hpakant, northern region of Kachin state. 

Hlaing Thar Yar and the neighboring Shwe Pyi Thar are vast and impoverished townships known as factory hubs and home to clothing factories. 

Sunday’s violence has brought the total death toll to more than 110 since the Feb.1 military coup.  

The move came hours after the Chinese Embassy demanded the security and safety of Chinese investments in the country after the junta accused the protesters of setting on fire seven factories, most of them Chinese-operated clothing industrial units and a school in Hlaing Thar Yar, and Shwe Pyi Thar, on Sunday.  

Later, the embassy in a statement urged Myanmar authorities to take effective measures to stop violence and punish the perpetrators. 

All six townships of Yangon, now placed under martial law, are home to industrial workers who are already among the poorest in the country. 

Also mobile internet has reportedly been cut across the country since early Monday, while wi-fi services are still available. No official announcements have yet been made by the junta or telecommunications operators.  

The National Administrative Council, headed by military chief and coup leader Sen. Gen Min Aung Hlaing, has intensified its violent methods in an attempt to suppress the voice of anti-coup protesters.  

Meanwhile, New York-based Human Right Watch urged the UN and the international community to impose strong actions on the junta for atrocities against the largely peaceful protesters.  

“The horrific increase in the number of protesters killed by live fire over the weekend shows just how emboldened Myanmar’s security forces are to target protesters with live ammunition,” said HRW’s deputy Asia director Phil Robertson.  

“The longer it takes for strong action to come from the international community, the longer Myanmar’s generals will feel they can get away with murder,” he said on Monday.

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