Myanmar protests: Several injured as clashes escalate | News | DW | 26.02.2021
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Myanmar protests: Several injured as clashes escalate

Security forces have dispersed hundreds of demonstrators as they seek to quell the growing unrest among pro-democracy protesters. The country's UN envoy has urged international intervention.

Watch video 02:07

Myanmar police fire rubber bullets and stun grenades

Security forces in Myanmar's two biggest cities cracked down on anti-coup protesters on Friday by firing stun grenades, rubber bullets and shots into the air.

The unrest underscores the rising tensions between a growing revolt and the generals who toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a February 1 coup that shocked the international community, reversing years of progress towards democracy.

The ousted civilian government's UN envoy condemned the latest violence. 

"We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy," Kyaw Moe Tun told the UN General Assembly.

What happened in Friday's protests in Myanmar?

At least one person was wounded in the country's largest city — Yangon — while three more were confirmed wounded in Myanmar's second city — Mandalay — where two protesters were shot in the chest by rubber bullets, and another suffered a leg wound.

Protesters had gathered on a wide road outside a park in Mandalay in the early afternoon when security forces unleashed shots and used flash bang grenades to disperse the crowd.

Bullets, shell casings, and other projectiles were later found by locals on one of Mandalay's principal avenues.

The victims were all taken to a private clinic for treatment.

Myanmar protests, Mandalay

A local displays bullets, shells and rubber used by security forces during a protest in Mandalay

Meanwhile, in Yangon, a Japanese journalist covering a separate protest, was detained by police and later released, according to Japan's Kyodo news agency. Yuki Kitazumi could be seen in a video circulating among media as police arrested him, with one of the officers briefly putting a truncheon around the reporter's neck.

Protesters describe events to DW

An activist in Yangon, who wished to use the pseudonym of Minn Mhem, told DW protesters will not be giving in to the "military dictatorship" even in the face of escalating aggression from security forces.

Minn Mhem said: "Yesterday military supporters used sharp objects and attacked the protesters, some almost dying. And today I went, at around 10 a.m., the police were marching to us and hitting and shooting us."

Myanmar, Yangon protests

An activist in Yangon told DW "people in Myanmar always find a way to protest peacefully"

But the protesters will continue to fight "for democracy," Minn Mhem said. "We are fighting to end military dictatorship. We don't want military dictatorship anymore. And we don't want our country's development to be delayed again, like in the past."

Watch video 03:13

'People in Myanmar always find a way to protest peacefully'

What has happened to Aung San Suu Kyi?

Ousted leader Suu Kyi has been under house arrest in the capital city of Naypyitaw since the military seized control of the country on February 1. Her lawyer said he had not been granted access to her, three days before she is due to return to court, adding that it undermines her right to a fair hearing.

The military complained of fraud in Myanmar's general election that took place last November — a vote won by Suu Kyi's party.

Watch video 02:37

Myanmar military annuls election results

The election commission said the ballot was fair. Activist Minn Menh confirmed to DW that Suu Kyi remains a unifying figure for the protesters' cause.

Myanmar protests, Mandalay

An injured man in Mandalay is escorted by police as aggression against anti-coup protests escalated in Mandalay

jsi/rt (AP, Reuters)

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