(Yangon) Footage has emerged of onlookers ducking for cover as shots are fired at protests in a town in Myanmar’s southeast against a military coup, demanding the release of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Live videos posted to Facebook on Sunday afternoon show people hiding as armed, uniformed soldiers move up the street to break up protests in Myawaddy, near the border with Thailand.
Shots can be heard as the crowd of approximately 200 duck down.
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets over the weekend, including Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to protest against the ousting of the civilian government by the country’s military.
According to the BBC protesters “poured in” along the main road north of Yangon, mainly younger men and women and many dressed in the red colour of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party ousted last Monday and run by Ms Suu Kyi.
Red balloons were also visible from the crowd while motorists blew horns and passengers held up photos of Ms Suu Kyi.
It’s not yet known whether the shots heard are from live bullets or other, less lethal munitions designed to break up the crowd. It is also unclear if there are any casualties, but demonstrations across the country to oppose the coup had been so far peaceful.
Ms Suu Kyi was deposed by the military at the start of February over allegations of election rigging, and has since been charged for possessing allegedly illegally imported walkie talkies.
Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the NLD, secured a landslide victory in the country’s November election, winning more than 80 per cent of the votes.
“Respect our vote,” read one of the banners as protesters marched, through the city shouting anti military slogans.
The military is yet to present convincing evidence to back up their claims of electoral fraud.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians for Human Rights chair Charles Santiago said the charges were “an absurd move by the junta to try to legitimise their illegal power grab”.
Myanmar President Win Myint has also been detained and accused of breaking coronavirus rules while meeting with people on the campaign trail.