At least 11 people were killed in a town in northwest Myanmar, local media reported, as security forces cracked down on anti-coup protesters who retaliated with shotguns and firebombs .
Myanmar Now and Irrawaddy news sites said Thursday that six trucks of troops had been deployed to quell a huge protest in the town of Taze on Wednesday. When the demonstrators retaliated with rifles, knives and firebombs, five more trucks of troop reinforcements were brought in.
Regime forces killed 11 people in Taze County, Sagaing region at the end of April 7. Residents used homemade firearms in an attempt to prevent troops from entering the city. Troops deployed to the city on April 8, threatening to shoot protesters.
Photo: CJ#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/UwORs3eAbX
– The Irrawaddy (Eng) (@IrrawaddyNews) April 8, 2021
Fighting continued Thursday morning and at least 11 protesters were killed and around 20 injured, media said.
There was no information about casualties among the soldiers.
This would bring the number of civilians killed by security forces to more than 600 since the Burmese military took power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, according to the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners ( AAPP).
Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 11 people were killed in a similar clash on Wednesday, according to media and witnesses. Security forces fired live ammunition, grenades and machine guns at protesters calling for the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, AAPP said.
In Yangon, the country’s largest city, activists placed shoes filled with flowers to commemorate the dead protesters.
– Tin Htet Paing (@thpaing) April 8, 2021
The army, which hunts some 120 celebrities for speaking out against the coup, has arrested a prominent actor, singer and model, according to his sister. Paing Takhon, 24, was taken from his mother’s home in the North Dagon area of Yangon early Thursday, his sister Thi Thi Lwin posted on Facebook.
“As he is seriously ill, they arrested him calmly without violence. We do not know where he is taken, ”she added. Thi Thi Lwin said the actor suffered from malaria and heart problems.
The country’s most famous comedian Zarganar was also arrested on Tuesday, media reported. The AAPP said 2,847 people were currently in detention.
‘Coup in the middle of London’
Abroad, diplomatic clashes resurfaced on Wednesday.
Myanmar Ambassador to the UK Kyaw Zwar Minn said he had been excluded from the embassy, with sources saying his deputy had kicked him out and taken care of him on behalf of the military.
Kyaw Zwar Minn has broken through the ranks of the ruling military in recent weeks, calling for the release of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“It’s kind of a coup, in the middle of London… you can see they are occupying my building,” he told Reuters news agency.
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Thursday condemned the “acts of intimidation of the Myanmar military regime” and praised the “courage” of the ambassador. But it was not clear what the UK might do, if anything.
Similar counterclaims have also been made at embassies in other world centers and at the United Nations.
Meanwhile, General Min Aung Hlaing, the coup leader, said in a statement on Wednesday that the civil disobedience movement, or CDM, had disrupted the operation of hospitals, schools, roads, offices and factories.
“The CDM is an activity aimed at destroying the country,” he said.
Fitch Solutions, a consultancy firm, said in a report that Western sanctions targeting the military are unlikely to succeed in restoring democracy, but said the military is losing control.
He predicted a violent revolution pitting the army against an armed opposition made up of members of the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias.
“The escalation of violence against civilians and ethnic militias shows that the Tatmadaw (military) are increasingly losing control of the country,” he said.
The vast majority of people support the ousted government of Aung San Suu Kyi, he added.
Aung San Suu Kyi and prominent figures from his National League for Democracy party, which won an election in November overturned by the coup, are currently in custody and face various charges.
The UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, hopes to visit the country in the coming days, a UN spokesperson said in New York.