(Reuters) – Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar fought with hand-made weapons and incendiary bombs against a crackdown by security forces in a northwestern city, but at least 11 of the protesters were killed, domestic media reported on Thursday.
Initially, six trucks of soldiers were sent to crack down on protesters in the city of Taze, media outlets Myanmar Now and Irrawaddy said. When protesters reacted with hand-made weapons, knives and incendiary bombs, five more truckloads of troops were brought in.
The fighting continued until Thursday morning and at least 11 protesters were killed and about 20 wounded, the media said. There were no reports of casualties among the soldiers.
This would bring the number of civilians killed by security forces to more than 600 since the junta seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, according to the Association of Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP). He had a toll of 598 dead on Wednesday night.
Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 12 people were killed in a similar clash between soldiers and protesters on Wednesday, according to media and witnesses. Security forces fired cartridges, grenades and machine guns at protesters who demanded the restoration of the Suu Kyi government, AAPP said.
“Taze, Kale has a lot of hunters in the jungle,” said Hein Min Hteik, a resident of the region and a young activist. “They have hand-made firearms. And now they went out with their weapons to protect the residents, while the people were under attack by the junta. “
A spokesman for the board could not be reached for comment.
“People will try to defend their own lives and their rights,” said a former government minister who is part of CRPH, a group of lawmakers who represent the deposed civilian government.
“People are not going to wait for CRPH to act,” the minister said in a video call with Reuters. “CRPH cannot prevent the possible armed resistance of the people, of the people.” The junta arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against the coup on Thursday, his sister told Reuters. In Yangon, the country’s largest city, activists put on shoes full of flowers to honor the dead protesters.
The AAPP said that 2,847 people were currently in detention.
In addition, arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, with the junta chasing dozens of influencers, artists, artists and musicians this week.
Paing Takhon, 24, known in Myanmar and Thailand, was one of the last celebrities to be arrested. He condemned the military coup and promised to support Suu Kyi.
His sister, Thi Thi Lwin, told Reuters that the military detained his brother at 4:30 am at his parents’ home in Yangon, where he spent several days without feeling well, suffering from malaria and heart problems.
Security forces came with eight military trucks and about 50 soldiers and it was unclear where he was taken, she said.
The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, the media reported.
Abroad, disputes over control of Myanmar’s diplomatic missions emerged again on Wednesday.
Myanmar’s ambassador to London, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said he was barred from entering the embassy, with sources saying his deputy excluded him and took over on behalf of the military.
Kyaw Zwar Minn has broken ties with the governing board in recent weeks, calling for the release of detained civilian leader Suu Kyi.
“It’s kind of a scam, in the middle of London … you can see that they occupy my building,” he told Reuters.
There have also been similar counterclaims at embassies in other global centers and at the United Nations.
Meanwhile, General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the junta, said in a statement on Wednesday that the civil disobedience movement, or CDM, disrupted the operation of hospitals, schools, roads, offices and factories.
“The CDM is an activity to destroy the country,” he said.
Fitch Solutions said in a report that Western sanctions against the military are unlikely to succeed in restoring democracy, but said the army is losing control.
He predicted a violent revolution pitting the military against an armed opposition made up of members of the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias.
“The escalation of violence against civilians and ethnic militias shows that the Tatmadaw (military) is increasingly losing control of the country,” the document said.
The vast majority of people support Suu Kyi’s deposed government, he added.
Reporting by the Reuters team; Additional reporting by Devjyot Ghoshal; Written by Ed Davies and Raju Gopalakrishnan; Editing by Michael Perry and Simon Cameron-Moore