At least 38 people were killed in Myanmar on Wednesday, the UN confirmed, marking the worst day of violence since protests against military rule began.Security forces opened fire on large crowds in a number of cities and at least two of the victims are believed to be teenage children.Mass demonstrations have been taking place across Myanmar since the military seized control on 1 February.It comes a day after Myanmar’s neighbours called for restraint.Christine Schraner Burgener, the UN’s envoy to Myanmar described Wednesday as the “bloodiest day” since the coup took place on 1 February. She said that more than 50 people have died since then.The coup saw elected government leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, overthrown and detained. Protesters are calling for their release and an end to military rule.
The military says it seized power because of alleged fraud in November’s general elections, which saw Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party win a landslide victory.But the military has provided no proof of these allegations – instead, it replaced the Election Commission and promised fresh polls in a year.What’s the latest?Despite growing international condemnation, the military has escalated its response to the street protests and Wednesday saw violent clashes in a number of areas.
The security forces opened fire in several towns and cities with little warning, witnesses told the Reuters news agency.At least four people were shot dead during a protest in Monywa in central Myanmar. At least 30 others were wounded in the unrest, a local journalist told Reuters.Further deaths were reported in Yangon, Mandalay and Myingyan. Some 19 people were injured following one protest on the outskirts of Yangon, AFP agency reported.
A volunteer medic told AFP news agency in Myingyan that at least 10 people had been injured there. “They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds,” they said,”They didn’t spray us with water cannon, [there was] no warning to disperse, they just fired their guns,” one protester in the city told Reuters.In Mandalay, a student protester told the BBC that demonstrators were killed near her house.”I think around 10am or 10.30, police and soldiers came to that area and then they started to shoot at civilians. They didn’t give any warning to the civilians.”They just came out and they started to shoot. They used rubber bullets but they also used live bullets to kill civilians in a violent way.”The military has not commented on the reported deaths.
The latest round of violence follows a meeting between foreign ministers of neighbouring South East Asian nations. The group urged restraint, but only some of the ministers pressed the military junta to release Ms Suu Kyi.Ms Suu Kyi, 75, was seen for the first time since her detention earlier this week when she appeared in court via video link. It followed the deadliest day of violence yet on Sunday when 18 people were killed.