Myanmar security forces killed three people in the main city of Yangon on Monday, witnesses and media reported, as activists called on ethnic minority forces in the diverse nation to back their campaign against military rule.
After the bloodiest day since the Feb. 1 military coup with 114 deaths on Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in towns across the country, determined to show their opposition to the relapse into military rule after a decade of democratic reform.
A man was killed and several were wounded when security forces fired in one Yangon neighbourhood, media and a witness said.
“He was shot in the head,” witness Thiha Soe told Reuters.
“They were shooting at everything on the road, even a Red Cross team. It’s still going on as I’m speaking to you.”
Police and a junta spokesman did not answer calls seeking comment. Myanmar’s Red Cross said in a message it was checking the report.
Two people were killed in another Yangon district when security forces moved in to clear protesters’ barricades, a resident said.
“We can confirm two were killed in our ward,” said the resident of the South Dagon neighbourhood who asked to be identified as just Win.
“About 15 members of the security forces came and shot all around,” said Win, adding that the security forces were using grenades to clear barricades.
Based on a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group, 462 civilians have been killed since the coup.
But despite the violence, crowds turned out in the central towns of Bago, Minhla, Khin-U, Pinlebu and Taze, Mawlamyine in the south, Demoso in the east and Hsipaw and Mytitkyina in the north, according to media and social media posts.
The General Strike Committee of Nationalities, a main protest group, called in an open letter on Facebook for ethnic minority forces to help those standing up to the “unfair oppression” of the military.
“It is necessary for the ethnic armed organisations to collectively protect the people,” the protest group said.