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Five die after security forces open fire on Myanmar protesters

By News Desk,

No fewer than five persons have reportedly been killed on Monday after Myanmar security forces opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators, a day after dozens of protesters were shot dead and attackers torched several Chinese-financed factories in the city of Yangon.

Supporters of detained democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi marched again, including in the second city of Mandalay and western town of Hakha, where the rallies were peaceful, and in the central towns of Myingyan and Aunglan, where police opened fire.

“One girl got shot in the head and a boy got shot in the face. I’m now hiding,” an 18-year-old protester in Myingyan informed journalist. It was gathered that three people were killed in Myingyan and two in Aunglan town.

The protesters took to the streets in defiance of the authorities, whose escalating use of violence has resulted in dozens being killed on Sunday in the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 coup.

The arson attacks on Sunday provoked China’s strongest comments yet on the turmoil gripping its Southeast Asian neighbour, where many people see China as supportive of the coup.

The Chinese embassy urged Myanmar’s ruling generals to stop violence and ensure the safety of people and property.

It was gathered that 32 Chinese-invested factories were “vandalised in vicious attacks” that caused damage worth $37 million and injuries to two Chinese employees.

Japan, which has long competed for influence in Myanmar with China, said it was monitoring the situation and considering how to respond in terms of economic cooperation.

The worst of Sunday’s bloodshed came in the Yangon suburb of Hlaingthaya where security forces killed at least 37 protesters after arson attacks on Chinese-owned factories, said a doctor in the area who declined to be identified.

Sixteen people were killed in other places, rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said, as well as one policeman.

Martial law had been imposed in Hlaingthaya and several other districts of Yangon, and in parts of Mandalay.

The latest deaths bring the toll from the protests to about 140, based on a tally by the AAPP and the latest reports.

A junta spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment.

In an apparent bid to suppress news of the turmoil, telecoms service providers were ordered to block all mobile data nationwide, two sources with knowledge of the matter said. Telecom Telenor said in a statement “mobile internet was unavailable”.

The army said that it took power after its accusations of fraud in a Nov. 8 election won by Suu Kyi’s party were rejected by the electoral commission. It has promised to hold a new election but has not set a date.

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