8 killed in Myanmar, protesters continue to defy night curfew

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Yangon [Myanmar], March 14 (ANI): At least eight people were killed in Myanmar on Saturday as security forces opened fire on protesters, including those who continue to defy a nighttime curfew to demonstrate against February's coup.

Kyodo News citing local media reported that Three men died in the outskirts of the country's largest city, Yangon, early Saturday morning, while another three protesters were killed in the second-largest city Mandalay later in the day. Local media reports added that all died from gunshot wounds.

Two in Yangon were shot when security forces opened fire to disperse groups of people in Thaketa township, demanding the release of protesters who were beaten, arrested and taken into custody, while the third was killed in Hlaing township, where shots were fired at groups of people who confronted the police and soldiers conducting nighttime raids at targeted households in the neighborhood, according to local reports.

The Japanese news outlet reported that in Mandalay, central Myanmar, two men and a woman were killed when security forces, reportedly using live ammunition, cracked down on protesters staging a sit-in demonstration Saturday morning, while one person was killed in Pyay, about 140 kilometres south of the capital Naypyitaw, and another in Chauk, north-central Myanmar.

Meanwhile, the leading independent news website The Irrawaddy, which has been a constant critic of the military's involvement in politics, said Saturday that it has been accused of inciting social unrest by reporting false news. It is the first time that a media organization, not an individual reporter, has faced such accusations since the military takeover.

Large numbers of protesters have taken to the streets of Myanmar since the military seized power in the February 1 coup, ousting the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, despite the increasingly deadly posture taken by security forces to quiet the wave of protests.

At least 70 people have been killed by Myanmar security forces since February, a UN expert on human rights in the Southeast Asian country said on Thursday, adding arrests and detentions had risen beyond 2,000, with violence against protesters, including violence against people sitting peacefully in their homes, steadily increasing. (ANI)