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Myanmar coup: incompliant protesters return a day after 38 are murdered

Some 38 people were killed on Wednesday with witnesses saying security forces opened fire with live bullets.Myanmar has been gripped by protests since the 1 February coup, demanding the release of detained leaders.Hundreds on Wednesday paid tribute to a 19-year-old woman who was shot dead while protesting in Mandalay.

Angel, also known as Kyal Sin, was wearing a T-shirt with the phrase "Everything will be OK" on the day she was killed.During her open-casket funeral, mourners sang revolutionary songs and chanted anti-coup slogans. reported Reuters.Tributes for her also flooded social media, with many calling her their "hero".

One man, who was with her at the protests, said she had kicked open a water pipe so protesters could wash tear gas from their eyes. She also tried to help him as police opened fire."She told me 'Sit! Bullets will hit you'," he told Reuters. "She cared for and protected others."

Myanmar has seen mass protests since the military seized power on 1 February, with demonstrators calling for an end to military rule and the release of its democratically elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi.Dozens of countries have now condemned the violence in Myanmar, though this has been largely ignored by the coup leaders.

What is the latest on the protests?

Undeterred by Wednesday's deaths, protesters made their way out on to the streets of Yangon and Mandalay - the country's two biggest cities - as well as those of other cities and towns.

According to news site Myanmar Now, tens of thousands of people were protesting in the town of Myingyan, where a demonstrator had been shot dead the day before.

According to Reuters, police opened fire and used tear gas to break up protesters in Yangon and the town of Monywa.
Residents said that five fighter jets had made low passes in formation over Mandalay early on Thursday, in what appeared to be a show of military strength.

What happened on Wednesday?

Police and soldiers reportedly opened fire with live rounds in several cities and towns with little warning."They didn't spray us with water cannon, [there was] no warning to disperse, they just fired their guns," one protester told Reuters.

media captionVideo footage shows anti-coup protesters running to avoid police tear gasAnother told the BBC that demonstrators were killed near her house. "They didn't give any warning... they just started to shoot. They used rubber bullets but also live bullets to kill civilians."

UN envoy to Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, said one video clip showed police beating an unarmed volunteer medic. She said that at least 50 people had been killed since the coup began - though other reports put the figure higher.

Why are people protesting?

Myanmar's military seized power after overthrowing the government and declared a state of emergency.Just days later, the civil disobedience movement began to emerge, with many people refusing to return to work.

The movement quickly started to gain momentum and it was not long before hundreds of thousands of people began taking part in street protests. A violent crackdown began on the largely peaceful protests last weekend.The military has not commented on the reported deaths.

Myanmar in profile

Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military ruleRestrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

In 2017, Myanmar's army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing.
www.bbc.com

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