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Sabtu, 20 Februari 2021

Two killed, 20 injured as police fire to break up crowds in Myanmar's bloodiest day of recent protests - ABC News

Two people were killed in Myanmar when police fired to disperse protesting opponents of the military coup, emergency workers have said.

Protesters took to the streets in several cities and towns with members of ethnic minorities, poets and transport workers among those demanding an end to military rule and the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.

But tension escalated quickly in Mandalay on Saturday (local time), where police and soldiers were confronting striking shipyard workers and other protesters.

Some of the demonstrators fired catapults at police as they played cat and mouse through riverside streets.

Police responded with tear gas and gun fire, though it was initially not clear if they were using live ammunition or rubber bullets.

"Twenty people were injured and two are dead," said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service agency.

One man died from a head wound, media workers and a volunteer doctor said.

The doctor said a second man was shot in the chest and died.

Several other serious injuries were also reported.

At least five people were injured by rubber bullets and had to be carried away in ambulances, according to an Associated Press journalist who witnessed the violence.

An armoured police truck uses a water cannon to disperse a crowd of protesters.
Many countries have urged Myanmar authorities to avoid violence, while the US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have announced limited sanctions.(AP)

Some 500 police and soldiers descended on the area near Yadanabon dock after dock workers joined the national civil disobedience movement, refusing to work until the military junta that seized power in a Febraury 1 coup reinstates the democratically elected government.

Police were not available for comment.

The demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes and other disruptions have shown no sign of dying down.

Opponents of the coup are sceptical of the army's promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.

A young woman protesting died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, the first death among anti-coup demonstrators.

The army said one policeman died of injuries sustained in a protest.

Crowds march in continued demonstrations across the country

A protester holds an image of a woman and a rose with a sign that reads "We Lost Our People" during a large protest.
Protesters in Myanmar's two largest cities paid tribute to the young woman who died after being shot by police during a rally against the military takeover.(AP)

On Saturday, young people in the main city of Yangon carried a wreath and laid flowers at a memorial ceremony for the woman, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, while a similar ceremony took place in Naypyitaw.

The demonstrators are demanding the restoration of the elected government and the release of Ms Suu Kyi and others.

They have also called for the scrapping of a 2008 constitution that has assured the army a major role in politics since nearly 50 years of direct military rule ended in 2011.

The army seized back power after alleging fraud in November 8 elections that Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy swept, detaining her and others.

The electoral commission had dismissed the fraud complaints.

Nevertheless, the army has said its action is within the constitution and is supported by a majority of the people.

The military has blamed protesters for instigating violence.

Earlier on Saturday, several thousand protesters gathered in the northern town of Myitkyina and confronted lines of police before dispersing.

Crowds also marched again peacefully through the ancient capital of Bagan and in Pathein in the Irrawaddy river delta, pictures on social media showed.

The US, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have announced limited sanctions, with a focus on military leaders.

Many countries have urged authorities to avoid violence.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was already under sanctions from Western countries following the crackdown on the Rohingya. There is little history of Myanmar's generals, with closer ties to China and to Russia, giving in to Western pressure.

Ms Suu Kyi faces a charge of violating a Natural Disaster Management Law as well as illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios.

Her next court appearance is on March 1.

Myanmar's Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 546 people had been detained, with 46 released, as of Friday.

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2021-02-20 14:50:57Z
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