Rubbish piled up on the streets of Myanmar’s main city on Tuesday after activists launched a “garbage strike” to oppose military rule as the toll of pro-democracy protesters killed by the security forces since a Feb. 1 coup rose to more than 500.
Out of 14 civilians killed on Monday, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that at least eight were in the South Dagon district of the biggest city, Yangon.
Security forces in the area fired a heavier calibre weapon than usual on Monday towards protesters crouching behind a barricade of sand bags, witnesses said. It was not immediately clear what weapon it was but it was believed to be some type of 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.
A South Dagon resident said on Tuesday security forces had been cracking down in the area overnight, raising concern of more casualties.
“There was shooting all night,” said the resident who declined to be identified.
Residents found a badly burned body on a street in the morning, the resident said, adding it was not known what had happened to the person and the military took the body away.
Police and a junta spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Myanmar’s generals to stop the killings and repression of demonstrations.
In a new tactic, protesters sought to step up a civil disobedience campaign by asking residents to leave garbage at main road intersections.
“This garbage strike is a strike to oppose the junta,” read a poster on social media. “Everyone can join.”
Pictures posted on social media showed piles of rubbish building up in Yangon.
The campaign comes in defiance of calls issued via loudspeakers in some neighbourhoods of Yangon on Monday urging residents to dispose of garbage properly.