Burmese security forces yesterday opened fire on a pro-democracy protest by medical workers in the city of Mandalay, and during more shooting in a nearby area one man was killed and several were wounded, media reported.
Opponents of a Feb. 1 coup that ousted an elected government led by Nobel peace laureate and Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi have kept up their campaign against the military this traditional New Year week with marches and other displays of resistance.
Medical workers, some of whom have been at the forefront of the campaign against the coup, gathered in the second city of Mandalay early, but troops soon arrived to disperse them, opening fire and detaining some people, the BBC’s Burmese-language service said.
The BBC and other news outlets did not have details of casualties or arrests at the protest, but Khit Thit media said that a man was shot and killed in the compound of a nearby mosque as security forces broke up the medics’ protest.
A spokesman for the junta could not be reached for comment.
A resident of the neighborhood where the mosque is located said that soldiers had arrived there and started shooting, wounding one person who was later taken to hospital.
“There was no protest here. The soldiers just came and seemed to be searching for someone,” the resident, who declined to be identified, said by telephone.
The BBC Burmese service reported that four people were wounded in that neighborhood.
The five-day New Year holiday, known as Thingyan, began on Tuesday, but democracy advocates canceled the usual festivities to focus on their opposition to the generals.
Hundreds of people joined protests marches in several other towns, according to pictures posted by media outlets.
The coup has plunged Myanmar into crisis after 10 years of tentative steps toward democracy, with, in addition to the daily protests, strikes by workers in many sectors that have brought the economy to a standstill.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says the security forces have killed 715 protesters since the ousting of Aung SAn Suu Kyi’s government.
The UN human rights office on Tuesday said that it feared the military clampdown on the protests risked escalating into a civil conflict, such as that in Syria.
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