No fewer than four people have reportedly died while several others sustained varying degrees of injuries in Myanmar after police opened fire on the second day of a crackdown on demonstrators protesting across the country against military rule.
As gathered, a woman also died after police broke up a teachers’ protest with stun grenades in the main city of Yangon, though the cause of her death was not known.
It was learnt that police opened fire in different parts of Yangon after stun grenades and tear gas failed to disperse crowds that gathered to express their displeasure for military rule.
One man died after being brought to a hospital with a bullet wound in the chest, said a doctor at the hospital who asked not to be identified.
Confirming the incident, a politician and community leader, Kyaw Min Htike, alleged that police also opened fire in the southern town of Dawei, killing three and wounding several others.
It was also learnt that one person had been killed in the second city of Mandalay, where police also cracked down, while a charity reported two dead in the central town of Bago.
The northeastern town of Lashio and Myeik in the deep south also recorded police lethal disruption in what seems like a nationwide crackdown on protesters.
Police and the spokesman for the ruling military council did not respond to phone calls seeking comment over the attack on the protesters.
Junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, had earlier said that last week that authorities were using minimal force to deal with the protests.
Nevertheless, at least five protesters have died in the turmoil. The army said a policeman has been killed.
The crackdown would appear to show a determination by the military to impose its authority in the face of widespread defiance, not just on the streets but more broadly in areas such as the civil service, municipal administration, the judiciary, education and health sectors and media.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army seized power and detained elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other party leadership on Feb. 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
The coup, which brought a halt to tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, has drawn hundreds of thousands onto the streets and the condemnation of Western countries.
“Myanmar is like a battlefield,” the Buddhist-majority country’s first Catholic cardinal, Charles Maung Bo, said on Twitter.