SYDNEY - Australia has suspended its defence cooperation programme with Myanmar amid concern about the “escalating violence and rising death toll,” Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said as the country’s military steps up its crackdown on enormous protests against its coup last month.

Myanmar was plunged into turmoil after the army detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and officials from her National League for Democracy party on February 1 and seized control of the country.

The coup has triggered a national Civil Disobedience Movement and mass protests in which dozens have been killed.