The first two confirmed deaths by police using live fire on anti-coup protesters have been reported in Myanmar on Saturday. While there was previously conjecture and unverified reporting that security forces may have been using live ammo to quell large protests against the junta that's controlled the country since the arrests of civilian leaders in the Feb.1 coup, The Associated Press and others are now confirming at least two protesters have been shot dead.
"Two anti-coup protesters were shot dead by riot police who fired live rounds Saturday in Mandalay, Myanmar's second-largest city, local media reported," according to AP. "One of the victims was shot in the head and died at the scene, according to Frontier Myanmar, a news and business magazine based in Yangon, the country's largest city. Another was shot in the chest and died en route to the hospital."
Separately the AFP said about 30 others were injured in the same clash at the Yadanarbon shipyard.
There also appears to be confirmation via gruesome social media videos now circulating widely on internet protest channels, despite authorities' attempts to impose a firewall and social media ban across the entire country.
Happeningnow in #Mandalay , Myanmar!The military’s shooting at us,civilians with ease. Look at how her(the videographer’s) voice is shaking with fear!PLEASE TAKE ACTION IMMEDIATELY!We’re all crying in pain and sorrow everyday!! @freya_cole @UNHumanRights #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/2UJiJD3als— Honey Nway Oo (@HNwayoo) February 20, 2021
Mass rallies have continued to grow over the past two weeks despite the very large military presence in the streets, including armored vehicles, and declaration of martial law based on 'emergency powers' of the military now in effect for at least one year.
Tw // Blood, A young man was shot by the military with real bullets in Mandalay, Myanmar.— AyePyaeNyein (@aye_pyae) February 20, 2021
That’s how the citizens of Myanmar treated by Military!We are not safe anymore. #Feb20Coup#WhatsHapppeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/OWULm1FNTF
Things are sliding into violence elsewhere in the country as well: "Police used force for a second straight day Friday to arrest protesters in Myitkyina, the capital of the remote northern state of Kachin."
"The Kachin ethnic minority has long been in conflict with the central government, and there has been an intermittent armed struggle against the army there for decades," the AP report adds.
Dozens of social media videos purportedly showing the violent police crackdown are now circulating. What sounds like 'live fire' on the demonstrators is heard. (Warning: Very Graphic footage):
TW // Gun Shot , Death— May (@MayZinO83236302) February 20, 2021
Today in Mandalay, Myanmar. This is the deadly proof of Junta polices are shooting and aiming directly to our innocent people to die ( head Shot)
This is not internal affair. This is not Civil War. #WhatsHappeninglnMyanmar #Feb20Coup pic.twitter.com/baAO0uGfSx
The junta has vowed that new elections will be held next year after the latest that saw Suu Ky and her National League for Democracy party in a sweeping victory that the army called "fraudulent".