The defense chiefs of 12 countries, including the U.S., issued a joint statement on Saturday condemning Myanmar's military and security forces for its crackdown on anti-coup demonstrators.
Why it matters: The statement comes after the U.N. called Saturday the deadliest day of protests since the military last month overthrew the country's democratically elected government. Protesters have rallied to restore democracy in the country for nearly two months.
What they're saying: "As Chiefs of Defense, we condemn the use of lethal force against unarmed people by the Myanmar Armed Forces and associated security services," the statement says.
- "A professional military follows international standards for conduct and is responsible for protecting – not harming – the people it serves."
- "We urge the Myanmar Armed Forces to cease violence and work to restore respect and credibility with the people of Myanmar that it has lost through its actions."
The statement was issued by the defense chiefs of Australia, Canada, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea and the U.K. along with the U.S.
- U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tweeted his support for the statement, calling the developments in Myanmar "deeply disturbing."
Worth noting: U.S. Ambassador Thomas Vajda also issued a statement Saturday saying that "security forces are murdering unarmed civilians, including children, the very people they swore to protect."
- "This bloodshed is horrifying," he added. "These are not the actions of a professional military or police force."