Myanmar’s security forces opened fire on pro-democracy protests on Saturday, killing four people, a protester and the media said as the military stepped up its efforts to end disagreements with arrest warrants for online critics and Internet blocs.
Despite the fact that the security forces have killed more than 550 people since the coup on February 1, protesters come out every day, often in small groups in smaller cities, to express opposition to the reintroduction of military rule.
The security forces in the central city of Monywa fired a crowd that killed you people, says the News Service Myanmar Now.
“They started firing incessantly with both stun grenades and live rounds,” the Monywa protester, who asked not to be named, told Reuters via a messaging app. “People backed off and quickly put up … barriers, but a bullet hit a person in front of me in the head. He died on the spot.”
A man was shot and killed in the southern city of Thaton, reports the online news portal Bago Weekly Journal. The media previously reported that a person was killed in Bago city but later said that the person injured by had not died.
The police and a spokesman for the junta did not answer phone calls to get comments.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group, in a statement earlier in the day, said security forces had killed 550 people, including 46 children, since the military overthrew an elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
The demonstrations that drew tens of thousands of people at the beginning of resistance in large cities have largely ended with the coup’s opponents adopting “guerrilla meetings” – small, quick challenges before the security forces can respond. People also gather at night for candles.
“People are still protesting every day because we strongly believe that this is a battle between good and evil,” protest leader Tayzar San told Reuters in an audio message.
The authorities are also running a campaign to verify information. They had turned off mobile data and on Friday ordered ISPs to cut wireless broadband and deprive most customers of access, although some messages and photos were still published and shared on social media.
Authorities issued warrants for 18 celebrities, including social media and two journalists, under a law against materials aimed at getting a member of the armed forces to mint or disregard their duty, state media reported late Friday.
Everyone is known for opposing military rule. The fee can have a prison term of three years.
Actress Paing Phyoe Thu said she would not meat.
“Whether an order has been issued or not, as long as I live, I will oppose the military dictatorship that bullies and kills people. The revolution must prevail,” she said on Facebook.
Paing Phyoe Thu regularly attended meetings in the capital Yangon in the weeks following the coup. She was not immediately known.
The state-owned company MRTV announced the warrants for the 18 with screenshots and links to their Facebook profiles.
While the military has banned platforms such as Facebook, it has continued to use social media to track critics and market its message.
MRTV has a YouTube channel and shares links to its broadcasts on Twitter, both of which are officially banned.
The United States condemned the shutdown of the Internet.
“We hope this will not silence the people’s voices,” State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter said during a briefing.
The United States and other Western countries have condemned the coup and called for the release of Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her campaign against the military regime. She has been accused of violating an official secret act that can be punished with up to 14 years in prison.
The coup has revived old wars with autonomy-seeking ethnic minority forces in the north and east.
Myanmar’s oldest rebel group, the Karen National Union (KNU), has seen the first military airstrikes on its forces in more than 20 years, after announcing its support for the democratic movement.
KNU said that more than 12,000 villagers had fled their homes due to the airstrikes. It called for an international embargo on arms sales to the military.
The media have reported that about 20 people were killed in airstrikes in KNU territory in recent days, including almost a dozen at a gold mine operated by the group.
Fighting has also flared in the north between the army and ethnic Kachin uprisings. The unrest has sent thousands of refugees to Thailand and India.