Myanmar security forces violently dispersed anti-coup rallies around the country on Sunday. With reports that security forces shot and killed at least 18 people and wounded 30 others, this made it the deadliest day since the military ousted the sitting government in a coup on February 1.
The military junta ratcheted up its use of force over the weekend against the massive street protests. The demonstrators demand that the coup leaders yield power and release ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with President Win Myint and the members of Suu Kyi’s administration.
In the city of Yangon, one protester was killed with a bullet wound to the chest, while another, a woman taking part in a protest with a teacher’s union died, of a heart attack after police threw flash-bang grenades into the crowd.
Three more people were killed by gunfire in the southern city of Dawei and dozens injured when security forces opened fire on protesters. Two more protesters were killed by gunfire in the city of Mandalay.
Most of the police in Yangon used non-lethal means to disperse protesters as they fired tear gas and water cannons. Those means along with rubber bullets have been used prevalently. However, it now appears that the military coup leaders are turning more and more to lethal means to quell the protests and in videos shared on social media, gunshots could clearly be heard.
AP News reported that security forces began dispersing the crowd in the downtown Yangon area before the protest was even slated to begin.