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Officers' gunfire said to kill 2 demonstrators in Burma

by The Associated Press | February 21, 2021 at 2:49 a.m.
Red Cross workers carry a man on a stretcher in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)

MANDALAY, Burma -- Two anti-coup protesters were shot dead by riot police who fired live rounds Saturday in Mandalay, Burma's second-largest city, local media reported.

One of the victims was shot in the head and died at the scene, according to Frontier Myanmar, a news and business magazine based in Rangoon, the country's largest city. Another was shot in the chest and died en route to the hospital.

[Gallery not loading above? Click here for more photos » arkansasonline.com/221burma/]

Burma is often called Myanmar, a name that military authorities adopted in 1989. Some nations, such as the United States and Britain, have refused to adopt the name change.

Several other serious injuries were reported. The shootings occurred near Mandalay's Yadanabon dock, where tear gas and rubber bullets were used on protesters earlier in the day.

The Irrawaddy news website confirmed the deaths on social media.

Security forces had been increasing their pressure against anti-coup protesters earlier Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay.

At least five people were injured by rubber bullets and had to be carried away in ambulances, according to an Associated Press journalist who witnessed the violence.

Some 500 police and soldiers descended on the area near Yadanabon dock after dock workers joined the national civil disobedience movement, refusing to work until the military junta that seized power in a Feb. 1 coup reinstates the democratically elected government.

Protesters and residents were forced to flee the neighborhood as security forces chased after them.

There were reports of sounds that resembled gunfire. A group of journalists was forced to flee after being targeted with tear gas and slingshot projectiles.

Earlier last week in Mandalay, security forces cracked down on state railway workers in a similar fashion after they joined the civil disobedience movement.

Less than an hour after an 8 p.m. curfew started on Wednesday, gunshots were heard as more than two dozen police officers with shields and helmets marched past railway workers' housing. Numerous videos posted on social media showed muzzle flashes as shots were heard, and some police used slingshots and threw rocks at the buildings. Marching chants of "left, right, left, right" could be heard along with shouts of "shoot, shoot."

On Saturday, anti-coup protesters in Burma's two largest cities also paid tribute to a young woman who died a day earlier after being shot by police this month during a rally against the military takeover.

An impromptu memorial created under an elevated roadway in Rangoon attracted about 1,000 protesters. A wreath of bright yellow flowers was hung beneath a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, who was shot in the capital, Naypyitaw, on Feb. 9, two days before her 20th birthday.

Her death on Friday, announced by her family, was the first confirmed fatality among thousands of protesters who have faced off against security forces since top military commander Min Aung Hlaing took power in the coup.

Protesters at the memorial chanted and held up signs that read "End the dictatorship in Myanmar" and "You will be remembered Mya Thwet Thwet Khine." The supporters laid roses and rose petals on images of the woman.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price offered his government's condolences Friday and reiterated calls on the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FF0EIzc3988]

In Mandalay on Saturday, a protest led by medical university students drew more than 1,000 people, many of whom also carried flowers and images of the slain woman.

Others held signs saying "CDM," referring to the nationwide civil disobedience movement that has encouraged doctors, engineers and others to protest the coup by refusing to work.

Across the country, protests showed no signs of slowing down despite the crackdowns by the military government -- including a sixth consecutive night in which the internet was cut for many hours.

Demonstrators gathered elsewhere in Rangoon, chanting and holding placards and images of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, whose democratically elected government was overthrown.

Security forces have been relatively restrained so far in confronting protesters in Rangoon, but they appeared to be toughening their stance in areas where there is less media presence.

The U.S., British and Canadian governments have imposed sanctions on the new military leaders, and they and other nations have called for Suu Kyi's administration to be restored.

People hose their faces with water after tear gas was used in dispersing a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
People hose their faces with water after tear gas was used in dispersing a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
Police  charge forward to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
Police charge forward to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is carried after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is carried after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
Anti-coup protesters hold an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine with a sign that reads "We Lost Our People" during an anti-coup protest rally in Mandalay, Myanmar Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar's two largest cities on Saturday paid tribute to the young woman who died a day earlier after being shot by police during a rally against the military takeover. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters hold an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine with a sign that reads "We Lost Our People" during an anti-coup protest rally in Mandalay, Myanmar Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar's two largest cities on Saturday paid tribute to the young woman who died a day earlier after being shot by police during a rally against the military takeover. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters from the LGBTQ community attend a rally in downtown Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. A young woman who was shot in the head by police during a protest last week against the military's takeover of power in Myanmar died Friday morning, her brother said.(AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters from the LGBTQ community attend a rally in downtown Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. A young woman who was shot in the head by police during a protest last week against the military's takeover of power in Myanmar died Friday morning, her brother said.(AP Photo)
A police truck uses a water cannon to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A police truck uses a water cannon to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is carried after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is carried after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is provided with first aid during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
A man is provided with first aid during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
People rinse their faces with water after tear gas was used to disperse a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
People rinse their faces with water after tear gas was used to disperse a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021.Security forces in Myanmar ratcheted up their pressure against anti-coup protesters Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay, the nation's second-largest city. (AP Photos)
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