Myanmar’s junta has ordered foreign embassies, UN agencies and other international organisations in the country not to talk to “illegal entities” representing Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, which it forced out of power this month.

The regime’s warning to embassies came as representatives of Aung San Suu Kyi’s toppled government consolidated their drive for international recognition, amid a sharp escalation of a crackdown by the military regime on Sunday that turned parts of Yangon into battle zones.

Police and soldiers on Sunday fired live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas at crowds in Myanmar’s biggest city, and clashed violently with protesters in Mandalay, the second city, Dawei in the south, and several other cities, including in ethnic minority states.

At least 18 people died in the worst day of violence since the coup, and hundreds were arrested over the weekend. The directive from Myanmar’s military-controlled foreign ministry, dated February 26 and seen by the Financial Times, said that the formation of groups such as the Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), or parliament, formed by MPs pushed aside in the February 1 coup, were illegal. (FT)

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chart showing the growing trading volume in private markets

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