US orders some diplomats to leave Myanmar as unrest grows

Anti-coup protesters stand beside a burning tire as they fortify their position against the military during a demonstration in Yangon, Myanmar on Tuesday March 30, 2021. Thailands prime minister denied Tuesday that his countrys security forces have sent villagers back to Myanmar who fled from military airstrikes and said his government is ready to shelter anyone who is escaping fighting.(AP Photo) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

WASHINGTON – The State Department on Tuesday ordered non-essential U.S. diplomats and their families to leave Myanmar, as a deadly government crackdown on demonstrators protesting last month’s coup intensifies.

The department said in a brief statement it would require non-emergency U.S. government employees and their dependents to depart the country in an upgrade of its previous instructions from Feb. 14 that had allowed them to leave voluntarily. The department also reiterated an earlier warning for Americans not to travel to Myanmar, also known as Burma.

“The Burmese military has detained and deposed elected government officials,” the statement said. “Protests and demonstrations against military rule have occurred and are expected to continue.”

The Southeast Asian nation has been wracked by violence since the military ousted a civilian-led government on Feb. 1 and began to forcibly put down protests.