Tens of thousands of people emerged in Myanmar on Sunday in one of the biggest days of protesting against the coup, despite nightly raids by security forces in the main city, Yangon, against campaign leaders and opposition activists. .
Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in the city of Lashio, in the northern Shan region of the country, according to a live video posted on Facebook. A witness said police opened fire to break up a protest in the historic temple city of Bagan, but it was unclear whether they were using rubber bullets or live ammunition.
There were no immediate reports of casualties. The protests in half a dozen other cities were peaceful.
The largest turnout in Sunday’s protests was in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay, where activists held a sit-in after two minutes of silence in honor of those killed by the police and military, the video showed.
The United Nations says security forces have killed more than 50 people since daily protests began after the army overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
“They are killing people like they kill birds and chickens,” a protest leader told the crowd in Dawei, in the south of the country. “What will we do if we don’t rebel against them? We must rebel. “
Protests also took place in at least three locations in Yangon, where residents said soldiers and police moved to various districts overnight, shooting. At least three were arrested in Kyauktada Township, residents said they did not know the reason for the arrests.
“They are asking to take out my father and my brother. No one will help us? Don’t even touch my father and my brother. Take us too if you want to take them away ”, shouted a woman as they took two of them, an actor and his son.
Soldiers also came looking for a lawyer working for the Aung San Suu Kyi National League for Democracy, but could not find him, a now-disbanded member of parliament, Sithu Maung, said in a Facebook post.
Police could not be reached for comment. A spokesperson for the board did not respond to calls seeking comment.
More than 1,700 people had been detained under the junta as of Saturday, according to figures from the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, an advocacy group.
“The detainees were beaten and kicked with military boots, beaten with police batons and then dragged into police vehicles,” AAPP said. “The security forces entered residential areas and tried to arrest more protesters and fired at houses, destroying many.”
Myanmar authorities said on Saturday they had exhumed the body of 19-year-old Kyal Sin, who has become an icon of the protest movement after she was shot and killed in Mandalay on Wednesday while wearing a T-shirt that read “Everything it will be OK. ”. State-run MRTV said a surgical investigation showed that police could not have killed her because the wrong type of projectile was found in her head and she had been shot from behind, while police were in the front.
But photographs from the day showed her head not looking at the security forces moments before they killed her. Opponents of the coup have accused the authorities of an attempted cover-up.
The killings have drawn ire in the West and have been condemned by most democracies in Asia. The United States and some other Western countries have imposed limited sanctions on the junta. However, China has said that the priority should be stability and that other countries should not interfere.
The protesters are demanding the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and respect for the November elections, which her party won outright but rejected by the army. The army has said it will hold elections on an unspecified date.
The junta leader and army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, had been under Western sanctions even before the coup, for a campaign of alleged ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya minority.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism