Two people died from gunshot wounds yesterday after security forces opened fire amid protests in Myanmar’s second-largest city, emergency workers said.
“Two people were killed and about 30 others injured,” said Hlaing Min Oo, the head of a Mandalay-based volunteer emergency rescue team.
“Half of the injured people were shot with live rounds,” Hlaing said, adding that one of the victims was a boy who was shot in the head.
Another emergency worker confirmed the two deaths, which occurred after a raid on a shipyard in Mandalay.
At least five people were injured by rubber bullets, a photographer at the scene said.
Much of the country has been in uproar since the military deposed Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on Feb. 1, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets to protest against the junta.
Authorities have arrested hundreds of people since the putsch, many of them civil servants who had been boycotting work as part of a civil disobedience campaign.
On Saturday, hundreds of police and soldiers gathered at Yadanarbon shipyard in Mandalay, on the Irrawaddy River. Their presence sparked fears among nearby residents that authorities would try to arrest workers for taking part in the anti-coup movement.
Banging pots and pans in what has become a signature gesture of defiance, protesters started yelling at the police to leave.
Police opened fire with live rounds, rubber bullets and slingshot balls, dispersing the alarmed protesters.
“Six men with gunshot wounds arrived to our team. Two are seriously injured,” a medical aide to doctors on the scene said, declining to provide his name for fear of repercussions.
“We transferred those who were seriously injured and in a critical condition to another place for intensive care, but we cannot reveal the place,” he said.
A doctor on the scene confirmed that some protesters had been injured by live rounds.
“We do not have enough medicine for them to be treated here,” he said, explaining the transfer.
Around the protest site, empty bullet cartridges were found, as well as slingshot ammunition, including metal balls.
One woman received a head wound from a rubber bullet and emergency workers quickly administered first aid to her.
A Facebook video streamed live by a resident on the scene appeared to carry nonstop sounds of gunshots.
“They are shooting cruelly,” said the resident, who appeared to be taking shelter on a nearby construction site. “We have to find a safer place.”
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