Deadly violence resumes in Myanmar after peaceful protests

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Armed riot policemen charge after firing teargas a rubber bullets as anti-coup protesters abandon their makeshift barricades and run in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, March 16, 2021. (AP Photo)

YANGON – At least two people protesting last month's military coup were reported shot and killed by Myanmar security forces Tuesday after a morning of peaceful marches.

Security forces have killed scores of their countrymen in recent days, and the U.N. has put the death toll at 149 since the Feb. 1 coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.

The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 183 people have been killed since the coup.

Violence was reported Tuesday in the biggest city, Yangon, where casualties have been the highest. Police fired rubber bullets in several neighborhoods, and one man was reported killed. Another killing was reported in Kawlin city in the northwestern Sagaing Region.

U.N. Human Rights Office spokesperson, Ravina Shamdasani, said at least 11 people were killed Monday, adding to 57 deaths over the weekend. While there were many more reports of killings, it was unable to corroborate them.

“The killing of demonstrators, arbitrary arrests and the reported torture of prisoners violate fundamental human rights and stand in clear defiance of calls by the Security Council for restraint, dialogue and a return to Myanmar’s democratic path,” said U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres.

The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in Myanmar, which for five decades had languished under strict military rule that led to international isolation and sanctions.

Protesters have recently used tactics meant to avoid violent confrontations. On Tuesday, social media reports said candlelight marches before sunrise were held in Mawlamyaing in Mon State in southeastern Myanmar.