Thousands of anti-coup protesters returned to the streets across the country on Sunday and were met with regime violence that killed at least six people, according to eyewitnesses.
Pro-democracy activists called for a general strike on Sunday to renew momentum surrounding street protests and to signify the “Global Myanmar Spring Revolution.” Corresponding demonstrations were held in cities around the world in solidarity with the movement in Myanmar, including in Manchester, UK; Milan, Italy; and Taipei, Taiwan.
The military council’s armed forces carried out arrests and fired rubber bullets, live ammunition and grenades at civilians in an attempt to end the rallies and terrorise those participating, according to protesters.
Hpakant, Kachin State
One person was killed and at least 20 were injured in the jade-rich town of Hpakant, Kachin State, as troops dispersed a crowd of anti-coup protesters using explosives and live bullets, locals said.
Troops threw a grenade into the crowd and opened fire on the protesters on Sunday afternoon, an eyewitness told Myanmar Now.
Thirty-three-year-old Wai Phyo was shot in the head and several others were injured in the attack, according to the eyewitness.
“The one who died was shot with live ammunition,” they said.
Wai Phyo’s body had not been retrieved at the time of reporting, but wounded protesters had been moved to a safe house for medical treatment.
Wetlet, Sagaing Region
Three people were killed by the regime’s troops in a crowd preparing to demonstrate in the town of Wetlet, Sagaing Region on Sunday morning.
The victims were Min Zin Oo, 22; Zaw Oo, 42; and Thiha Aung, 24.
“The troops started firing at protesters at around 8:30am when people were just preparing for a protest. They initially fired rubber bullets, but the crowd of people didn’t break up, so they started firing live rounds,” a Wetlet local who was part of the demonstration said.
Zaw Oo, who was shot in the back, died as people were preparing to send him to the hospital for treatment, the local said.
No further details about Zaw Oo were available at the time of reporting.
The body of another victim, Min Zin Oo, was taken by soldiers after he was shot in the head, one of his relatives told Myanmar Now.
Thaung Lwin, Min Zin Oo’s uncle, said he retrieved his nephew’s body from the Wetlet hospital at around 1pm on Sunday. He added that there were bruises on the man’s forehead and arms.
He said family members would hold Min Zin Oo’s funeral on Sunday.
“There was a lot of blood… both in the head and in the back,” Thaung Lwin said.
Twenty-four-year-old Thiha Aung was taken to a charity clinic in Mandalay, about 90km from Wetlet, to receive treatment for a bullet wound. He died that afternoon, a volunteer doctor told Myanmar Now.
No further information was available about him at the time of reporting.
Chanayethazan Township, Mandalay Region
At least four people were arrested as the well-known Mya Taung protest column gathered in Chanayethazan Township in Mandalay at around noon.
The junta’s armed forces arrived at the protest site with five trucks and detained the individuals in a raid on a tea shop where members of the protest column had met, according to eyewitnesses.
“While we were sitting in the tea shop, they stormed into the shop, shouting, ‘Don’t run away’ at us. All of us fled immediately. The four people whom they arrested were not part of the protest,” a protester said.
Troops also seized seven motorcycles, they added.
The junta’s forces also carried out raids in Maha Aungmyay and Chanmyathazi townships in Mandalay on the same day, according to locals.
Several arrests of protesters were reported in the commercial capital of Yangon on Sunday, but Myanmar Now was unable to verify the exact number of people who were detained.
Hsipaw and Nawnghkio, Shan State
In northern Shan State, at least two people were reported to have been killed during protest crackdowns by troops in Hsipaw and Nawnghkio.
A man in his 20s was shot in the head and died at the scene in Hsipaw, according to a volunteer rescue worker. His identity is still unknown.
At least 10 protesters were also arrested, the rescue worker added.
In Nawnghkio, the armed forces broke up an anti-coup rally at around 9am and 40-year-old Win Naing was shot and killed, rescue workers and a family member of the victim told Myanmar Now.
“He went near the protest and was shot in the lower chest area. I think he died at the scene. His body was sent to the morgue,” Win Naing’s wife, Hnin Nwe, told Myanmar Now.
Win Naing made his living doing odd jobs and left behind three daughters, aged seven, four and one-and-a-half.
According to a tally by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a Thai-Myanmar border-based rights group, some 759 people had been killed by the military junta nationwide since the February 1 coup as of May 1. Including the six people murdered on Sunday, the known total of deaths at the time of reporting was 765.