At least eight people have been killed in Myanmar after a security crackdown sparked a series of violent protests in just a few days, three months after a ruling that plunged the country into chaos.
Thousands of people, in towns and cities across the country, took part in Sunday’s demonstrations calling for the “Global Myanmar Spring Revolution”. Rallies in support of protests against what is happening again outside Myanmar, as Pope Francis seeks peace.
“Shake the world with the voice of the unity of the people of Myanmar,” the organizers said in a statement.
Two people have been shot dead in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, according to a news agency in Mizzima.
An Irrawaddy website recently posted a photo of a man who is said to be a plainclothes police officer carrying a gun in Mandalay.
Three people have been killed in the central town of Wetlet, Myanmar Now reporters said, and two have been killed in various towns in northeastern Shan State, two journalists said. One person was also killed in the northern town of Hpakant, according to a Kachin News Group report.
The Reuters news agency was unable to confirm the reports and a spokesman for the ruling government did not respond to calls for comment.
The military has seized power from Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government and the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a bid to oust him on February 1, sparking widespread protests.
Long-running conflicts with armed groups in the northern and eastern frontiers have intensified, with thousands more displaced, according to United Nations estimates.
The military has responded to the protests by arresting and cracking down and has ignored calls from UN allies to end the violence.
In Yangon, youths gathered on a street corner before rushing into the streets – soon dispersing to avoid clashes with government officials.
“Our goal is to put an end to the tyranny of the military!” they sang, waving their three fingers in protest.
In the eastern part of Shan, the youths had a sign that read: “We can never be in control”.
Pipe explosion was announced at various locations in Yangon on Sunday. Explosions have been taking place on a regular basis in the old city and government officials have condemned the “perpetrators”.
There have been no reports of blasts.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which monitors the situation, said security forces had killed at least 765 people since the government re-elected, while 4,609 people had been arrested.
The military, which called the AAPP a legitimate organization, has confirmed that 258 demonstrators have been killed, along with 17 police officers and seven soldiers.
Authorities ruled Myanmar for almost 50 years until a change took place 10 years ago.
– Yasmin Ullah (@YasminJUllah) May 3, 2021
I could not go to the demonstrations in London today, but I was in the spirit, because of my amazing talent @chantika_cendana_poet I took my word and went with it! @Alirezatalischioriginal# ChipikuDiv1 #GlobalMMSpringRevolution #GlobalMyanmarAlliance#What HappensInMyanmar #London https://t.co/7fkUruUHiP pic.twitter.com/nbWXvpDOG2
– MiMi Aye (@meemalee) May 2, 2021
Military chief Min Aung Hlaing said the government crackdown was necessary because of a scandal involving last November’s NLD election. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has found no evidence of wrongdoing.
Violence in Myanmar has caused much fear among foreigners.
Anti-seizure rallies were held in cities from Taipei to Vancouver and London where Hong Kong politician Nathan Law assisted the protesters.
“We need to strengthen our global system to punish dictators and leave them to kill people,” he said. “We want a government that serves the people, not intimidating them. We want leaders who will lead us, not ask us to bow down to them. ”
In Rome, meanwhile, Pope Francis prayed at his St Peter’s Square meeting on Sunday that Myanmar “could move on in a conference, reconciliation and peace”.