Two people were killed in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay on Saturday when policemen opened fire to disperse protesting opponents of a Feb. 1 military coup, emergency workers said, the bloodiest day in at least 2 weeks of protests.
Demonstrators took to the streets in many cities and towns with members of ethnic minorities, poets and transport workers among those calling for an end to military rule and the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.
But tension escalated quickly in Mandalay where police and soldiers were confronting striking shipyard workers and other protesters.
Some of the protesters fired catapults at policemen as they played cat and mouse through riverside streets. Police responded with tear gas and gun fire, though it was initially not clear if they were using live ammunition or rubber bullets.
“20 people were wounded and 2 are dead,” said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service agency.
Police were not available for comment.
The demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes and other disruptions show no sign of dying down. Opponents of the coup are skeptical of the army’s promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.
A young woman protester died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, the first death among anti-coup demonstrators.
1 policeman died of wounds sustained in a demonstration, the army said.