Local media say police opened fire on protesters in Yangon, killing at least one person and wounding many more.
Police in Myanmar moved quickly to stamp out protests against military rule on Sunday, firing live rounds in the air and lobbing stun grenades and tear gas canisters at thousands of demonstrators in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
Several bloodied people were seen being helped away from protests in Yangon in images posted by media outlets, but it was not clear if they were hurt by rubber bullets or live fire.
The Myanmar Now media group posted a video of a wounded man lying on the street near the Hledan Center intersection, and said he had been “shot in his chest area by what appeared to be live ammunition”.
A man who witnessed the shooting told the Frontier Magazine police fired live rounds at protesters sheltering at a bus station and that “one person died and others are wounded”.
Protesters say one man has been killed after police opened fire on people sheltering in a bus stop at Hledan. Several others have been injured. Police began firing live rounds at around 8:45am.#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #milkteaalliancemyanmar
Read more: https://t.co/g7NJ8V0tMf pic.twitter.com/qyVVNHEidE
— Frontier Myanmar (@FrontierMM) February 28, 2021
The violence erupted early on Sunday morning when medical students were marching in Yangon’s streets near the Hledan Center intersection. Footage showed protesters running away from police as they charged at them, and residents setting up makeshift roadblocks to slow their advance.
Nearby, residents were pleading with police to release those they picked up from the street and shoved into police trucks to be taken away.
Video: Soldiers gunned down a few protesters in Yangon crackdown on Sunday pic.twitter.com/uwifk4ty1p
— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) February 28, 2021
Sunday’s police action came after state television announced that Myanmar’s envoy to the United Nations had been fired for betraying the country after he urged the United Nations to use “any means necessary” to reverse the February 1 coup that ousted elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military’s power grab and its detention of the country’s civilian leadership has plunged Myanmar into fresh chaos, just a decade after the end of nearly 50 years of strict military rule. For three weeks now, huge crowds have taken to the streets of cities and towns across Myanmar, calling for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and the restoration of civilian rule.
As the popular uprising gathers steam, security forces have become more aggressive in using force, launching their most extensive crackdown yet on Saturday by arresting hundreds of people and shooting and wounding at least one person.
Police were out early again on Sunday taking positions at main protest sites in the city of Yangon as protesters, many clad in protective gear, began to congregate, according to witnesses.
“Police got out of their cars and started throwing stun grenades without warning,” said Hayman May Hninsi who was with a group of fellow teachers in Yangon. They fled to nearby buildings.
“Some teachers got hurt running. We’re assessing the situation and whether to go out again or not.”
#HappeningNow in #Yankin of #Yangon: at least 50 protesters arrested, including doctors and medical students from the medic strike. Another brutal crackdown from the police in #Myanmar. #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar #Burma #BurmaCoup pic.twitter.com/KU6epiddze
— Cape Diamond (@cape_diamond) February 28, 2021
Doctors and students in white lab coats fled as police threw stun grenades outside a medical school in another part of the city, posted video showed.
Police in the second city of Mandalay fired guns into the air, trapping protesting medical staff in a city hospital, a doctor there said by telephone.
Youth activist Esther Ze Naw said people were battling to overcome the fear they had lived with for so long.
“This fear will only grow if we keep living with it and the people who are creating the fear know that. It’s obvious they’re trying to instil fear in us by making us run and hide,” she told Reuters. “We can’t accept that.”