Yangon: Myanmar security forces killed at least 38 people who were protesting against the military coup on Sunday, including 22 protesters from Yangon’s Hlaing Thar Yar where several Chinese-run factories were set ablaze, an advocacy group said. Death toll equaled that of March 3, the highest of all days since the February 1 coup against former democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Two cities that saw violent demonstrations – Hlaing Thar Yar and neighboring Shwepyitha – have been placed under martial law.Also Read - India Among 30 Odd Countries Where Marital Rape Not Criminalised Yet | Check List Here
Videos surfaced on social media platforms showing people running away after gunfire was heard. Those fleeing carried one injured person and tried to revive two others, one of whom seemed to be dead or dying, a footage captured by the independent Democratic Voice of Burma showed. Also Read - WATCH: Mysterious, Gold-coloured Chariot Washes Ashore at Sunnapalli Sea Harbour in Andhra Pradesh
Myanmar has been under a nationwide state of emergency since the takeover six weeks ago, with its civilian leaders ousted and detained and military leaders in charge of all government. Also Read - How the Military Junta of Myanmar Killed the Free Voices
In Yangon, a video posted on social media showed crowds of people, some wearing hard hats and gas masks, running down a street amid sounds of gunfire. The demonstrators quickly sprayed vapor from fire extinguishers as they retreated.
The use of fire extinguishers common now in protests across Myanmar is intended to smother tear gas and also create a vapor screen that makes it harder for police to pursue or shoot demonstrators.
There were also reports of injuries from live rounds and rubber bullets in other parts of Yangon, including Insein district, where billows of black smoke could be seen after security forces reportedly set roadblocks on fire.
On Saturday, the civilian leader of Myanmar’s government in hiding vowed to continue supporting a revolution to oust the military leaders who seized power in the February 1 coup. Mahn Win Khaing Than, who was named the acting vice president by Myanmar’s ousted lawmakers and is a member of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party, addressed the public for the first time since the coup.
The actual death toll is likely higher, as police apparently seized some bodies, and some victims have had serious gunshot wounds that medical staff at makeshift clinics would be hard-pressed to treat. Many hospitals are occupied by security forces, and as a result are boycotted by medical personnel and shunned by protesters.
Police have also aggressively patrolled residential neighborhoods at night, firing into the air and setting off stun grenades as an intimidation tactic. They have also taken people from their homes in targeted raids with minimal resistance. In at least two known cases, the detainees died in custody within hours of being hauled away.