Security forces in Myanmar yesterday opened fire on some of the biggest protests against military rule in days, killing seven people, media reported, three months after a coup plunged the country into crisis.
The protests, after a spell of dwindling crowds and what appeared to be more restraint by the security forces, were coordinated with demonstrations in Burmese communities around the world to mark what organizers called “the global Myanmar spring revolution.”
“Shake the world with the voice of Myanmar people’s unity,” the organizers said in a statement.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA-EFE
Streams of demonstrators, some led by Buddhist monks, made their way through cities and towns across the country, including the commercial hub of Yangon and the second city of Mandalay, where two people were shot and killed, the Mizzima news agency reported.
The Irrawaddy news site earlier posted a photograph of a man it said was a security officer in plain clothes taking aim with a rifle in Mandalay.
Two people were killed in the central town of Wetlet, the Myanmar Now news agency said, and two were killed in different towns in Shan State in the northeast, two media outlets reported.
One person was also killed in the northern jade-mining town of Hpakant, the Kachin News Group reported.
Reuters could not verify the reports and a spokesman for the ruling junta did not answer calls seeking comment.
The protests are only one of the problems the generals have brought on with their Feb. 1 ouster of the elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
Wars with ethnic minority insurgents in remote frontier regions in the north and east have intensified significantly since the coup, displacing tens of thousands of civilians, according to UN estimates.
In some places civilians with crude weapons have battled security forces, while in central areas military and government facilities that have been secure for generations have been hit by rocket attacks and a wave of small, unexplained blasts.
There have been no claims of responsibility for the explosions.
Khit Thit media reported a blast outside a police barracks in Yangon early yesterday.
Vehicles were ablaze Khit Thit said, but it gave no information on any casualties.
Later, it reported another blast in the city.
A news portal in Shan State reported a blast outside the home of a prominent businessman.
The state-run broadcaster in its main evening news bulletin on Saturday gave details of at least 11 explosions over the previous 36 hours, mostly in Yangon.
It reported some damage but no casualties.
“Some rioters who do not want stability of the state have been throwing and planting handmade bombs at government buildings and on public roads,” the broadcaster said.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group says security forces have killed at least 759 protesters since the coup.
Reuters has been unable to confirm the toll.
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