At least another 23 civilians were killed by the Myanmar military regime on Saturday morning, taking the death toll from the security forces’ lethal crackdown on anti-regime protests to 350, as the coup leaders celebrate Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, the capital of the country.
Undaunted by previous deadly crackdowns, people across Myanmar took to the streets on Saturday to mark “Anti-Military Dictatorship Day”, while the coup leaders in Naypyitaw celebrated the 76th Armed Forces Day. Historically, March 27 is remembered as the day on which Myanmar’s armed resistance against the Japanese fascists was launched in 1945.
Thousands of anti-protesters defied a warning issued to the public last night on military-controlled MRTV not to protest on Armed Forces Day. MRTV delivered an open threat from the military to shoot protesters in the head and back if they took to the streets.
In Meiktila, Mandalay Region, four civilians including a 13-year-old girl were killed when security forces opened fire inside a housing estate to disperse the protesters.
A local resident said the girl was fatally shot dead inside her home during a raid on residential areas to search for anti-coup protesters. Six people were injured.
Eight people were shot dead in Dala Township, Yangon at around 12:30 a.m. Saturday as a crowd besieged a police station demanding security forces release two women detained after a protest on Friday morning.
“They [security forces] kept shooting until 3 a.m. Several people were injured. Some of them are still critical condition,” a witness said.
Another three protesters, Ko Bo Bo Chit Nyein, 21, Ko Tazar Htun, 31, and U Zaw Lay, 49, were shot dead in Insein Township, Yangon during a crackdown by security forces on an early morning anti-coup demonstration there.
“Three were injured due to gunshots. One was injured in the abdomen and two were hit in their arms,” a volunteer from a local charity group said.
Three more protesters including a lawyer were killed in Lashio, northern Shan State. They were shot in the head and chest when police and soldiers opened fire on anti-coup demonstrators, according to a local charity group. It also reported that several people were injured during the crackdown.
“We could not retrieve the dead bodies. They dragged the bodies and the injured people onto a military truck,” a volunteer from the charity group told The Irrawaddy.
Additionally, a bystander was shot dead in Kachin State’s Hopin by regime forces when they fired on protesters who were gathering for an anti-regime march on Saturday morning. One was injured and four others were arrested, according to local residents.
Another anti-coup protester, Ko Nan Win, suffered a fatal head shot and another four were seriously injured during a crackdown on anti-regime demonstrators in Daik-U Township, Bago Region. Another young man later died of his wounds after being shot in the chest when riot police and soldiers opened fire during the early morning protest.
“Riot police are still shooting randomly, although the protesters have already broken up. Two protesters were arrested,” an anti-coup protester in Daik-U told The Irrawaddy.
Another protester was shot in the head and killed, and six people were injured, during a crackdown on protesters in Kyaikhto, Mon State, according to local residents.
And at around 10.30 a.m., Ko Chan Myae Kyaw, 29, was shot dead by security forces at a crossroads on the Monywa-Pathein Highway in Monywa Township, Sagaing Region during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters.
Anti-coup protesters across the country this week called for nationwide protests against the regime on Armed Forces Day, despite the regime’s continued lethal crackdown on demonstrations.
Since the early morning, security forces have used live rounds and rubber bullets to disperse protesters, and have torched roadblocks set up by protesters to deter the advance of regime troops. In Myitkyina, more than 50 protesters were arrested by regime forces and several were injured during protests against the military.