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At least six protesters killed by security forces in Myanmar – reports

The news comes as authorities extend their crackdown on demonstrations against last month’s coup.

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Anti-coup protesters run from tear gas and charging riot police and soldiers in Mandalay in Myanmar (AP)

Anti-coup protesters run from tear gas and charging riot police and soldiers in Mandalay in Myanmar (AP)

Anti-coup protesters run from tear gas and charging riot police and soldiers in Mandalay in Myanmar (AP)

Security forces in Myanmar have shot and killed at least six people, according to local news reports and accounts on social media.

The news comes as authorities extend their crackdown on protests against last month’s coup.

Multiple reports from several cities and towns, difficult to independently confirm, said police used live ammunition as well as tear gas and rubber bullets to violently disperse protesters on Wednesday.

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Anti-coup school teachers in Mandalay (AP)

Anti-coup school teachers in Mandalay (AP)

AP/PA Images

Anti-coup school teachers in Mandalay (AP)

In Myingyan in central Myanmar, multiple social media posts reported the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old boy. A second death was reported later.

At least four other deaths were reported elsewhere.

Demonstrators have regularly flooded the streets of cities across the country since the military seized power on February 1 and deposed the elected government of leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Their numbers have remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse.

On Sunday, the UN Human Rights Office said it believed at least 18 people had been killed that day.

The escalation of violence has led to increased diplomatic efforts to resolve Myanmar’s political crisis.

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Policemen armed with guns, catapults and shields advance towards anti-coup protesters in Mandalay (AP)

Policemen armed with guns, catapults and shields advance towards anti-coup protesters in Mandalay (AP)

AP/PA Images

Policemen armed with guns, catapults and shields advance towards anti-coup protesters in Mandalay (AP)

The UN Security Council is expected to hold a closed meeting on the situation on Friday, council diplomats said.

The United Kingdom had requested the meeting, they said.

But any kind of co-ordinated action at the United Nations would be difficult as two permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia, would almost certainly veto it.

Some countries have imposed or are considering imposing their own sanctions.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Myanmar is a neighbour, held a teleconference meeting of foreign ministers on Tuesday to seek a consensus on helpful measures.

The regional group of 10 nations has a tradition of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.

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Anti-coup protesters stand behind makeshift barricades made with bricks in Mandalay (AP)

Anti-coup protesters stand behind makeshift barricades made with bricks in Mandalay (AP)

AP/PA Images

Anti-coup protesters stand behind makeshift barricades made with bricks in Mandalay (AP)

A statement — issued by the group’s chair, rather than as a joint declaration — called for an end to violence and for talks to try to reach a peaceful settlement.

Snubbing ASEAN’s appeal, Myanmar’s security forces continued to attack peaceful protesters on Wednesday.

Details of the crackdowns and casualties are difficult to independently confirm, especially those occurring outside the bigger cities.

But the accounts of most incidents have been consistent in social media and from local news outlets, and usually have videos and photos supporting them.

It is also likely that many incidents from remote areas go unreported or generally unnoticed.

In the central city of Monywa, which has seen huge crowds turn out to protest the military takeover, three people were shot on Wednesday, including one in the head, according to reports from the Democratic Voice of Burma, an independent television and online news service.

There were also fatalities in the city on Sunday.

In Myingyan, in the same central region, multiple social media posts reported the death of the 14-year-old boy.

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Policemen and soldiers advance towards protesters in Mandalay (AP)

Policemen and soldiers advance towards protesters in Mandalay (AP)

AP/PA Images

Policemen and soldiers advance towards protesters in Mandalay (AP)

While in Magwe, also in central Myanmar, a student was reported to have been seriously injured after suffering a gunshot wound.

In the town of Hpakant, in the northern state of Kachin, four people were reported to have been shot with live ammunition.

One person was reportedly shot in Pyinoolwin, a town in central Myanmar better known to many by its British colonial name, Maymyo.

The usual daily protests in Yangon and Mandalay, the country’s biggest cities, were again attacked by police.

In Mandalay, riot police backed by soldiers broke up an anti-coup rally, chasing around 1,000 teachers and students from a street with tear gas and what seemed to be warning shots.

The February 1 coup reversed years of slow progress towards democracy in Myanmar after five decades of military rule.

It came the day that a newly elected parliament was supposed to take office.

Deposed leader Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term, but instead she was detained along with President Win Myint and other senior officials.

Meanwhile, authorities have charged Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw and five other members of the media with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years, a lawyer said on Tuesday.

The six were arrested while covering protests against the coup.

PA


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