Pro-democracy supporters in Myanmar took to the streets in multiple districts on Tuesday, as fighting between the army and anti-junta militias raged in border areas, four months after the military toppled an elected government in a coup.
Despite a ferocious crackdown by security forces, the military is still struggling to impose order after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and top leaders of her party, sparking nationwide demonstrations and paralyzing strikes.
A photograph posted by the Irrawaddy newspaper on social media depicted anti-military demonstrators holding a march in Laung Lone, in the far south of Myanmar.
As well, in the commercial hub of Yangon a group of mainly young protesters rallied in the district of Kamayut, photographs posted by the Myanmar Now news portal revealed.
A sign written on a sheet carried by one demonstrator read: “This is not over yet. We still have our turn.”
Mobile phone footage obtained from a resident in Kayah state bordering Thailand showed what appeared to be artillery being fired from inside the state capital Loikaw into Demoso, about 14.5 km (9 miles) away, where a People’s Defense Force said it had attacked troops and was coming under heavy fire.
Nearly 50 rounds had been fired on Monday and 6 on Tuesday morning, residents in Loikaw said.
“The sound of artillery is deafening us,” a resident told Reuters on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity over safety concerns.
In a post on its Facebook page, the Karenni Nationalities Defense Force, a militia active in Kayah state, said 80 army soldiers had been killed on Monday, while one of its fighters and a civilian were also casualties.
According to the United Nations, fighting in Kayah has displaced around 37,000 people in recent weeks. Many have fled into jungles and are in need of medicine and food.