Images posted on social media showed the coup leader dressed in a bow tie and a white, medal-laiden jacket walking a red carpet, greeting attendees and sitting down to a meal to mark Armed Forces Day. The annual holiday commemorates the beginning of the army's resistance against Japanese occupation in World War II and the junta staged a show of force with a military parade. Saturday was also the full moon day of Tabaung, the end of Myanmar's lunar calendar and an important time in Buddhism that should have been celebrated with festivals and visits to pagodas.
Instead, soldiers and police embarked on a rampage, killing at least 114 people -- including children -- in 44 towns and cities across the country on Saturday, according to a tally by the independent Myanmar Now news outlet. It was the deadliest day since the army seized power in a coup and overthrew the country's elected government on February 1.