Emergency workers have said that at least two demonstrators were killed as police used force to disperse a large crowd of people protesting against the February 1 military coup in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay.
“Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” said Ko Aung, the leader of Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service agency, as quoted by Reuters.
One of those killed suffered a gunshot to the head and died on the spot, while another succumbed to a bullet wound to the chest, according to doctors.
The unrest in Mandalay reportedly started with some of the protesters firing catapults at police equipped with riot gear and shields. The law enforcers responded with tear gas and batons, but later shots were fired.
It’s currently unclear whether the police used rubber bullets or live ammunition. Twitter posts blamed the security forces for deploying live fire, sharing images purportedly from the scene that showed bloodied people on the ground and numerous shell casings.
The police have yet to officially commented on the events in Mandalay.
Demonstrators took to the streets in several of Myanmar’s other cities and towns on the same day, demanding the swift release of democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, who was arrested by the military over claims of rigging November’s parliamentary vote. Fraud accusations were previously dismissed by the electoral commission. Protesters don’t believe military junta leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, will fulfil his promise to hold a new, fair election.
On Friday, a female protester died after being shot during a rally in the capital Naypyitaw, becoming the first fatality among demonstrators in more than two weeks of protests. The police also said that one their officers died from injuries after being attacked by the crowd.
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