The head of Myanmar's junta on Saturday used the occasion of the country's Armed Forces Day to try to justify the overthrow of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, as protesters marked the holiday by calling for even bigger demonstrations.
The US Treasury Department said its action against Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited and Myanmar Economic Corporation Limited targets the army's control of large parts of the country's economy, "which is a vital financial lifeline for the military junta".
"The Myanmar Armed Forces Day isn't an armed forces day, it's more like the day they killed people", General Yawd Serk, chair of the Restoration Council of Shan State/Shan State Army - South (RCSS), told Reuters.
A group of about 100 people beating drums held a protest in the downtown Sule area of Yangon before being chased away by security forces, witnesses said.
The KNU "can meet with him only after the Tatmadaw (military) implements the following essential wishes of the people", it said.
Yesterday's protests followed a day of "silent strikes" on Wednesday that left the streets of Yangon and other major centres deserted. Deaths were also reported from the Sagaing region near Mandalay, Lashio town in the east, in the Bago region, near Yangon, and elsewhere, it said. One person was killed in Hopin town in the northeast.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said the coup was inevitable, and that the military is working hard to secure social and economic development for the nation and its people.
According to news reports the 91 people were killed across the country by security forces. "Violent acts that affect stability and security in order to make demands are inappropriate", Hlaing said.
Residents said that after dark on Thursday, soldiers raided Yangon's Mingalar Taungnyunt district and arrested people on the streets after curfew.
In a warning on Friday evening, state television said protesters were "in danger of getting shot to the head and back". It did not specifically say security forces had been given shoot-to-kill orders and the junta has previously suggested some fatal shootings have come from within the crowds.
Activists raised a call for nationwide protests against the junta on Saturday.
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The day commemorates the launch of armed resistance against Japanese occupation in 1945 and typically involves military parades through the capital Naypyidaw. Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer for Aung San Suu Kyi, told VOA that police blocked the thoroughfare that led to the courthouse, and only allowed two junior lawyers to enter. Many other figures in her party are also being held in custody.
The junta announced that eight worldwide delegations attended Saturday's event, including China and Russia - with state media broadcasting Russian deputy defence minister Alexander Fomin in the audience.
There were no signs of officials from other countries, although global guests are usually present at the parade.
Protesters have taken to the streets nearly daily since the coup that derailed Myanmar's slow transition to democracy.
As of Friday, the number of protesters killed since the takeover was 328, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which documents deaths and arrests.
Its data shows that at least 25% of those who were killed died from shots to the head, raising suspicions they were deliberately targeted for killing. Reuters could not independently verify all the accounts.
The United Nations' special envoy on Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said the military had turned against its own citizens. "The killing of unarmed civilians, including children, are indefensible acts".
Myanmar and Russia's defence ties have grown in recent years. "I will fight them as much as we can".
In a bid to increase pressure on the junta over the February 1 coup, the United States and Britain imposed sanctions on conglomerates controlled by the military, with Washington calling it a response to the military's "brutal repression".
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who ousted the elected government in a coup on Feb 1, presides over an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Nay Pyi Taw on Saturday.