Protesters are seen before a clash with security forces in Taze, Sagaing Region, Myanmar on April 7, 2021 in this image obtained by Reuters.
Myanmar security forces fired rifle grenades at protesters in a city near Yangon on Friday, killing more than 80 people, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and a domestic news agency said.
Information on the death toll in the city of Bago, 90 km northeast of Yangon, was initially unavailable because security forces piled corpses in the Zeyar Muni Pagoda connection and shielded the area, according to witnesses and domestic media.
The AAPP and Myanmar Now news committee said on Saturday that 82 people were killed during the protest against the military coup on February 1
“It’s like genocide,” the news committee quoted a protest organizer named Ye Htut as saying. “They shoot at any shadow.”
Many residents of the city have fled, according to accounts on social media.
A spokesman for Myanmar’s military junta could not be reached Saturday.
The AAPP, which has daily maintained a demonstration of protesters killed and arrested by security forces, has previously said 618 people have died since the coup.
This figure is disputed by the military, which says it staged the coup because an election in November won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party was rigged. The Election Commission has rejected the claim.
Junta spokesman Major General Zaw Min Tun told a news conference in the capital Naypyitaw on Friday that the military had recorded 248 civilian deaths and 16 police deaths and said security forces had not used automatic weapons.
An alliance of ethnic armies in Myanmar, which has opposed the junta’s crash, attacked a police station in the east on Saturday, killing at least ten police officers, domestic media said.
The police station in Naungmon in Shan State was attacked early in the morning by fighters from an alliance that includes the Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, the media reported.
Shan News said at least ten police officers were killed, while the Shwe Phee Myay News Committee set the death toll at 14.
Myanmar’s military rulers said on Friday that protests against its rule were falling because people wanted peace and that it would hold elections within two years.
The ousted Myanmar lawmakers on Friday called on the UN Security Council to act against the military.
“Our people are ready to pay any price to get their rights and freedoms back,” said Zin Mar Aung, who has been appointed acting foreign minister for a group of dismissed lawmakers. She urged members of the Council to apply both direct and indirect pressure to the junta.
“Myanmar is on the brink of state failure, state collapse,” Richard Horsey, Myanmar’s senior adviser to the international crisis group, told the informal UN meeting, the first public discussion of Myanmar by councilors.