A prominent karate fighter who took part in anti-government protests in Myanmar has been wounded by a self-made bomber and detained after a bomb blast – among three other cities – as the military tried to take control of the country amid growing casualties.
Anti-government protests took place Friday across the country, including the city of Magway west of the capital, Naypyidaw. Earlier in the day, a protest took place in Natmouk district in Magway, where protesters carried placards with the red flag of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy party.
Young protesters also staged “lightning” protests against the military in the Thamine and Thaketa districts of Yangon, where there are also reports of security concerns that erupted early Friday morning in the Hledan area of Yangon. Authorities also detained several people, although they had no warrant for their arrest.
Myawaddy’s military video reported Thursday that a mixed fighter, 36-year-old Phoe Thaw, had been arrested at the hospital while receiving treatment for a broken leg while trying to detonate a bomb that he had made late Wednesday at a Yangon stadium.
Security officials said they found weapons, bombs and ammunition, after inspecting the gym. He was one of four people arrested and charged with felony criminal mischief.
Phoe Thaw is well-known in Myanmar and was caught on camera during a protest march protesting against a military leader, Min Aung Hlaing.
Photos on Myawaddy TV on Thursday showed him on a stretcher, his legs bruised and burnt.
A former friend, who spoke to Reuters reporters on condition of anonymity, said the bomb had been dropped at a gym by a police officer who identified himself as a civilian.
Many deaths, economic disabilities
Small-scale explosions are rampant in Myanmar’s towns and cities, some in government or the military, which officials say is evidence of a coup d’état that Aung San Suu Kyi has seized.
A coalition government with former politicians, pro-democracy groups and small-scale militias says the bombs are being manipulated by the military, who want to cling to power to end their enemies.
Following the initial explosion on Wednesday, which hit a Mandalay bus depot as well as a bank and a military-linked company in Naypyidaw, Min Aung Hlaing wants to “take action” against the perpetrators.
“It’s ruining the world,” MRTV quoted him as saying.
The radio station also said that the arrests were demanding that 40 medical personnel and teachers be charged with felony criminal mischief.
– Ro Nay San Lwin (@nslwin) May 7, 2021
This comes just days after the military announced that five people, including Aung San Suu Kyi party politician, had been killed in a bomb blast in the Bago area, making weapons of mass destruction.
Journalists Irrawaddy and the Democratic Voice of Burma on Thursday said a local government official had been killed in a brawl in Mandalay, the second killed this week, after a special soldier killed by a military patrol in Yangon.
Myanmar has been in turmoil since February 1, which marks 10 years of economic transformation and a test of military-led democracy after 49 years in power in a poor but rich country.
The protests over the past few months have disrupted the economy, disrupted many banks, businesses and offices, raising concerns that Myanmar is on the verge of collapse.
FACTS: Myanmar soldiers say Pho Thaw, who was critically injured in a bomb blast in Bahan, was making a bomb blast at a gymnasium after the blast
Soldiers found ammunition, rifles, ammunition after inspecting sports equipment, government officials said https://t.co/d36xuLbjTk
– Leong Wai Tool (@LeongWaiKitCNA) May 7, 2021
The human rights watchdog, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, said late Thursday that the number of people killed in the terrorist attacks since the beginning of the attack had reached 772, with 3,738 currently in jail or sentencing.
Al Jazeera could not personally verify the numbers due to a ban on reporting.
As a result, many young people went on television on Thursday to announce their intention to fight in the newly formed unity government. “Army”, threatening to invade the army if civilians were killed.