Myanmar protesters reach hundreds of thousands; warning shots fired

Kyodo News

Posted at Feb 09 2021 09:42 PM

Myanmar protesters reach hundreds of thousands; warning shots fired 1
People cover with plastic in case of a water canon during a rally against the military coup and to demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 9, 2021. Stringer, Reuters

Protesters against last week's military coup in Myanmar swelled into the hundreds of thousands on Tuesday, with police firing warning shots and rubber bullets, and some injuries reported including a 19-year-old woman in critical condition after being shot in the head.

Protests in the capital Naypyitaw, the largest city Yangon and the second-largest one Mandalay continued for a fourth day in defiance of bans on gatherings issued for the two major cities the previous day.

Police in Naypyitaw, to which the ban on gatherings of more than four people was expanded on Tuesday, fired rubber bullets and injured some protesters, according to local media, which said the shooting of the woman who was injured also occurred in the capital.

They also used water cannon against protesters for a second day there.

In Yangon, demonstrations were held in front of the headquarters of the formerly ruling National League for Democracy, whose leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained, and other locations in the center of the city.

With people from the city's outskirts joining the protests, police closed bridges early Tuesday, according to local media. But traffic was later allowed to resume, enabling protesters shouting "We want democracy!" to cross the bridges, some accepting rides on trucks.

A dusk-to-dawn curfew has been imposed in Yangon, Mandalay, Naypyitaw and other places in the country, as authorities cited threats to public security, the rule of law and stability.

On Monday, an estimated 100,000 people protested nationwide, the most since a 2007 uprising against military rule.

The military launched the coup after rejecting the results of last November's general election, which the NLD won by a landslide, defeating the military-backed opposition party.

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