38 killed in Myanmar’s ‘bloodiest day’ of protest
Published: 10:55 AM, 4 March 2021
At least 38 people were killed after Myanmar's security forces opened fire on young peaceful protesters in towns and cities across the country on Wednesday in what the United Nations described as the "bloodiest day" since the coup took place a month ago.
UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said there was shocking footage coming out of the country.
Witnesses said security forces opened fire with rubber and live bullets.
Mass protests and acts of civil disobedience have been seen across the Southeast Asian nation since the military seized power on February 1.
Protesters have been calling for an end to military rule and the release of the country's elected government leaders - including Aung San Suu Kyi - who were overthrown and detained in the coup.
The coup and the violent suppression of protests that followed have led to international condemnation, which Myanmar's military has so far ignored.
Reacting to Wednesday's deaths, the UK called for a United Nations Security Council meeting on Friday, while the US said it was considering further action against Myanmar's military.
The latest violence comes a day after Myanmar's neighbours urged the military to exercise restraint.
Schraner Burgener said at least 50 people had now been killed "and many wounded" since the coup began.
She said one video clip showed police beating an unarmed volunteer medical crew. Another showed a protester being shot and probably killed on the street, she said.
"I asked some weapons experts and they could verify to me, it's not clear but it seems that the police weapons like 9mm submachine guns, so live ammunition," she said.
Reports from inside Myanmar spoke of security forces opening fire on large crowds in a number of cities, including Yangon, with little warning.
Two boys, aged 14 and 17, were among those who were killed, Save the Children said. A 19-year-old woman was also said to be among the dead.
At least six people were reportedly shot dead during a protest in Monywa in central Myanmar. At least 30 others were wounded in the unrest, a local journalist told Reuters.
A volunteer medic told AFP news agency in Myingyan that at least 10 people had been injured there. "They fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds," they said.
"They didn't spray us with water cannon, [there was] no warning to disperse, they just fired their guns," one protester in the city told Reuters.
In Mandalay, a student protester told the BBC that demonstrators were killed near her house.
"I think around 10 am or 10:30, police and soldiers came to that area and then they started to shoot at civilians. They didn't give any warning to the civilians.
"They just came out and they started to shoot. They used rubber bullets but they also used live bullets to kill civilians in a violent way."
The military has not commented on the reported deaths. - BBC