Defying the threat of a lethal response from Myanmar security forces, anti-coup protesters assembled in Mandalay Saturday, hoping motorbikes would make it harder for police or soldiers to intercept them.
READ MORE: Myanmar security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protests Saturday killing five people, a protester and media said, as the military reinforced its bid to end dissent with arrest warrants for online critics and internet blocks.
Despite the killing of more than 550 people by the security forces since the Feb. 1 coup, protesters are coming out every day, often in smaller groups in smaller towns, to voice opposition to the reimposition of military rule.
Security forces in the central town of Monywa fired on a crowd killing three people, the Myanmar Now news service said, while one man was shot and killed in another central town, Bago, and one in Thaton to the south, the Bago Weekly Journal online news portal reported.
“They started firing non-stop with both stun grenade and live rounds,” the protester in Monywa, who asked not to be named, told Reuters via a messaging app. “People backed off and quickly put up … barriers, but a bullet hit a person in front of me in the head. He died on the spot.”
Police and a spokesperson for the junta did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group said earlier Saturday that security forces had killed 550 people, 46 of them children, since the military overthrew an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.