At least five killed as Myanmar protests aim to 'shake the world'

Several protesters were killed on Sunday, media reported, after Myanmar security forces opened fire on some of the biggest protests against military rule in days, which organisers said would "shake the world with the voice of Myanmar people's unity."

YANGON • Myanmar security forces opened fire on some of the biggest protests against military rule in days, killing at least five people, the media reported, three months after a coup plunged the country into crisis.

The protests yesterday, after a spell of dwindling crowds and what appeared to be more restraint by the security forces, were coordinated with demonstrations in Myanmar communities around the world to mark what organisers called "the global Myanmar spring revolution".

"Shake the world with the voice of Myanmar people's unity," the organisers said in a statement.

Streams of demonstrators, some led by Buddhist monks, made their way through cities and towns, including the commercial hub of Yangon and the city of Mandalay.

Two people were shot and killed in the central town of Wetlet, the Myanmar Now news outlet reported, while two people were killed in different towns in Shan state in the north-east, two media outlets reported. One person was also killed in the northern jade-mining town of Hpakant, the Kachin News Group reported.

Reuters could not verify the reports and a spokesman for the ruling junta did not answer calls seeking comment.

The Irrawaddy news site posted a photograph of a man it said was a security officer in plain clothes taking aim with a rifle in Mandalay. There were no immediate reports of casualties there.

The protests are only one of the problems the generals have brought on with their Feb 1 ouster of the elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Wars with ethnic minority insurgents in remote frontier regions in the north and east have intensified significantly over the past three months, displacing tens of thousands of civilians, according to United Nations estimates.

The state-run broadcaster in its main Saturday evening news bulletin gave details of at least 11 explosions over the previous 36 hours, mostly in the main city of Yangon. It reported some damage but no casualties. There have been no claims of responsibility.

Khit Thit media reported a blast outside a police barracks in Yangon early yesterday. Vehicles were ablaze, it said, but it gave no information on any casualties. Later, it reported another blast in the city.

A news portal in Shan state reported a blast outside the home of a prominent businessman.

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group says security forces have killed at least 759 protesters since the coup. Reuters is unable to confirm the toll.

The military, which ruled for almost 50 years until launching a tentative reform process a decade ago, acknowledged in the middle of last month the death of 248 protesters, saying they were killed after they initiated violence. Several members of the security forces have been killed in the protests, the military says.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2021, with the headline 'At least five killed as Myanmar protests aim to 'shake the world''. Subscribe