Thousands take to streets of Myanmar as five killed

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A military official, soldiers, and police officers stand by during a protest in the Myanmar capital of Yangon, on February 9, 2021. Renewed protests took place again on Monday. (Photo: NYTimes)
Myanmar security forces killed at least five protesters on Monday, three of them in the main city of Yangon, witnesses and media reported, as activists called on ethnic minority forces in the diverse nation to back their campaign against military rule.اضافة اعلان

After the bloodiest day since the February 1 military coup with 114 deaths on Saturday, thousands took to the streets in towns across the country, determined to show their opposition to the relapse into military rule after a decade of democratic reform.

At least two people were killed in the Yangon district of South Dagon when security forces moved in to clear protesters' barricades, residents said.

"We can confirm two were killed in our ward," said one neighborhood resident who asked to be identified as just Win.

Security forces fired a much heavier-caliber weapon than usual to clear a barricade in South Dagon, witnesses said and a video clip showed. It was not immediately clear what type, although a community group posted a picture of a soldier with a grenade launcher.

State television said security forces used "riot weapons" to disperse a crowd of "violent terrorist people" who were destroying a pavement and one man was wounded.

One man was killed earlier in another Yangon neighborhood, when security forces fired on protesters and a Red Cross team, witness Thiha Soe told Reuters.

Myanmar's Red Cross said it was checking the report.

Two people were also killed in shooting in the central town of Myingyan, student leader Moe Myint Hein told Reuters.

Based on a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group, 464 civilians have been killed so far.

Despite the violence, crowds turned out in towns across the country, according to media and social media posts.

One of the main groups behind the protests, the General Strike Committee of Nationalities, called in an open letter on Facebook for ethnic minority forces to help those standing up to the "unfair oppression" of the military.

"It is necessary for the ethnic armed organizations to collectively protect the people," the group said.