Yangon: Security forces in Myanmar fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to break up anti-coup protests on Thursday, as demonstrators returned to streets a day after the United Nations said 38 people had been killed in the bloodiest crackdown since last month’s military takeover.
The rallies in Yangon, Mandalay, Myingan and other cities and towns came as thousands of mourners attended a funeral for a 19-year-old woman who was killed in the previous day’s violence.
The UN human rights chief, Michelle Bachelet, called on the security forces to halt what she called their “vicious crackdown on peaceful protesters”.
At least 54 people had been killed in total but the actual toll could be much higher, she said. More than 1,700 people had been arrested, including 29 journalists.
“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protesters,” Bachelet said in a statement.
Protesters said they refused to accept the February 1 military coup and were determined to press for the release of elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and recognition of her victory in an election last November.
“We know that we can always get shot and killed with live bullets,” activist Maung Saungkha told Reuters news agency. “But there is no meaning to staying alive under the junta.”