Myanmar’s security forces have opened fire on some of the biggest protests against military rule in days, killing at least five people Sunday, media reported three months after the coup plunged the country into crisis.
The protests, following a spell by a shrinking crowd and something that seemed more restrained by security forces, were coordinated with demonstrations in Myanmar’s communities around the world to mark what organizers called the “Myanmar Global Spring Revolution.”
“Shake the world with the voice of the unity of the people of Myanmar,” the organizers said in a statement.
Streams of protesters, some led by Buddhist monks, made their way through cities, including Yangon Mall, Mandalay’s second city.
Two people were shot and killed in the central city of Wetlet, Myanmar Now reported, while two people were killed in various cities in the northeastern state of Shan, two media reported.
One person was also killed in the northern jade town of Hpakant, Kachin News Group reports.
Reuters could not verify the reports and a spokesman for the ruling junta did not respond to calls for comment.
New site Irrawaddy published a photo of a man who, according to him, is a security officer in civilian clothes and aims a rifle at Mandalay. There are no immediate reports of casualties there.
The protests are just one of the problems the generals caused in the overthrow of the elected government on February 1st, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.
Wars with ethnic minority rebels in remote border regions to the north and east have intensified over the past three months, displacing tens of thousands of civilians, according to UN estimates.
In some places, civilians with raw weapons fought security forces, while in the central areas, military and government facilities that had been protected for generations were hit by rocket attacks and a wave of small unexplained explosions.
The state television operator in its main bulletin on Saturday night gave details of at least 11 explosions in the previous 36 hours, mostly in the capital Yangon. Some damage was reported, but no casualties were reported.
There are no claims for liability.
“Some rebels who do not want state stability are dropping and planting handmade bombs on government buildings and public roads,” state television said.
Khit Thit’s media reported an explosion in front of a police barracks in Yangon early Sunday. The vehicles caught fire, it said, but did not provide casualties.
He later reported a new explosion in the city. A news portal in the state of Shan reported an explosion in front of the house of a prominent businessman.
The advocacy group of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners says security forces have killed at least 759 protesters since the coup. Reuters could not confirm the toll.
The military, which ruled for nearly 50 years before embarking on a preliminary reform process a decade ago, acknowledged the deaths of 248 protesters in mid-April, saying they had been killed after initiating violence.
Several members of the security forces were killed during the protests, the military said.
Protests and a parallel campaign of civil disobedience to the strikes have crippled the economy and raised the prospects of starvation for the poor, aid agencies have warned.
The UN Development Program warned last week that the impact of the pandemic and political crisis could lead to 25 million people falling into poverty by 2022. read more
The military said it should seize power because its allegations of fraud in the November election, won by Suu Kyi’s party, were not considered by an election commission that considered it a fair vote.
Suu Kyi, 75, was detained after the coup along with many other members of her party.
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