UN says 38 people were killed across Myanmar on Wednesday after security forces opened fire on anti-coup protesters.
A protester uses a fire extinguisher as others holding homemade shields run in Yangon. [AFP]
Myanmar pro-democracy activists were back out on the streets on Thursday to demonstrate against military rule a day after the United Nations said 38 people had been killed in the most violent day of unrest since last month’s coup.
On Wednesday, police and soldiers opened fire with live rounds with little warning in several cities and towns, witnesses said, a day after neighbouring countries had called on the military government to show restraint.
Regardless of the danger, activists said they refused to live under military rule and were determined to press for the release of detained government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and recognition of her victory in the election in November.
Five fighter jets made several low passes in formation over the second city of Mandalay early on Thursday, residents said, in what appeared to be a show of military might.
UN special envoy on Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener, said in New York that Wednesday was the bloodiest day since the February 1 coup with 38 deaths, bringing the total toll to more than 50 as the military tries to cement its power.
A spokesman for the ruling military council did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
In Yangon, witnesses said at least eight people were killed on Wednesday, while media reported six were killed in the central town of Monywa.
Save the Children said four children were killed, including a 14-year-old boy who Radio Free Asia reported was shot dead by a soldier on a passing convoy of military trucks. The soldiers loaded his body onto a truck and left, according to the report.
Security forces in Yangon detained about 300 protesters, the Myanmar Now news agency reported.
The military justified the coup by saying its complaints of voter fraud in the November 8 vote were ignored. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide, earning a second term.
The election commission said the vote was fair.
Coup leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has pledged to hold new elections but has given no timeframe.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, has been held incommunicado since the coup but appeared at a court hearing via video conferencing this week and looked in good health, a lawyer said.
Protesters run away after security forces fire tear gas in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city. [Anadolu]
People take shelter and block the road during a protest in Myanmar's second-largest city Mandalay. [Anadolu]
Soldiers advance to disperse protesters in Yangon. [Lynn Bo Bo/EPA]
Protesters take cover under makeshift shields during the anti-coup protest in Yangon. [Reuters]
People lie on the ground after police open fire to disperse anti-coup protesters in Mandalay. [Reuters]
A soldier stands next to a detained man during protests in Mandalay. [AFP]
A police truck transporting arrested protesters during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon. [Santosh Krl/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images]