Two protesters have been shot dead in Myanmar as riot police opened fire on peaceful anti-coup demonstrators.
Local media said riot police fired live rounds in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, on Saturday.
World leaders have condemned today’s shooting as ‘beyond the pale’ after local media reported two people were killed by riot police.
They said one victim was shot in the head and died at the scene while another was shot in the chest and died en route to hospital. Several other serious injuries were reported.
Police charge forward to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar (AP Photos)
Protesters have taken to the streets this month after the military took over and detained the nation’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi following her party’s landslide victory in November’s elections.
The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said it was ‘deeply troubled’ by Saturday’s fatal shootings in Mandalay and the death of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing.
‘No one should be harmed for exercising the right to dissent,’ the embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page.
Dominic Raab said the UK will consider ‘further action’ against those ‘crushing democracy’ and ‘choking dissent’ following the two deaths.
The foreign secretary said: ‘The shooting of peaceful protesters in Myanmar is beyond the pale.
‘We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent.’
The UK on Thursday said it had imposed asset freezes and travel bans on three generals in Myanmar’s military regime in response to human rights violations.
Demonstrators run from teargas fired by police during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, today
Protesters hold out bullet cartridges and ammunition for slingshots after security forces fired on demonstrators at a rally
Alongside the sanctions, the Government has put in place further safeguards to prevent UK aid money indirectly supporting the military government following this month’s coup.
A protester is led away after being detained by security forces
New measures are also being taken to stop UK businesses working with Myanmar’s military.
Protesters took to the streets in cities and towns across Myanmar with members of ethnic minorities, poets, rappers and transport workers among those demanding an end to military rule and the release from detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.
Tensions escalated quickly in Mandalay where police and soldiers confronted striking shipyard workers and other protesters.
Some of the demonstrators fired catapults at police as they played cat and mouse through riverside streets.
Police responded with tear gas and gunfire, and witnesses said they found the cartridges of both live rounds and rubber bullets on the ground.
‘Twenty people were injured and two are dead,’ said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service.
An injured man sits in an ambulance after police fired rubber bullets during the protest
The foreign secretary said the UK will consider ‘further action’ against those ‘crushing democracy’ and ‘choking dissent’
One man died from a head wound, media workers including Lin Khaing, an assistant editor with the Voice of Myanmar media outlet in the city, and a volunteer doctor said.
Ko Aung and the doctor said a second man was shot in the chest and died later of his wound. He was identified by relatives as Thet Naing Win, a 36-year-old carpenter.
‘They took away the body to the morgue. I cannot bring him back home. Although my husband died, I still have my son,’ his wife, Thidar Hnin, told Reuters by phone. ‘I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I am going to…I am not scared now.’
Several other injured protesters were carried away on stretchers by volunteer medics, their clothes soaked in blood.
Police were not available for comment.
A young woman protester, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw. It was the first death among anti-coup demonstrators.
The army said one policeman has died of injuries sustained in a protest.
State television MRTV’s evening news broadcast made no mention of the protests or casualties.
In the main city Yangon, residents again banged pots and pans in a nightly ritual in defiance of the coup. Outside the U.S. Embassy in the city, dozens of protesters, mostly women, gathered at twilight for a candlelit vigil, singing anti-coup songs.