Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar fought the crackdown by security forces in a northwestern city with homemade weapons and firebombs, but at least 11 of them were killed, national media reported on Thursday.
Initially, six truckloads of troops were deployed to quell protests in the city of Taze, Myanmar Now and Irrawaddy media said. When the protesters fought back with homemade pistols, knives and fire bombs, five more truckloads of troops arrived.
The fighting continued until Thursday morning and at least 11 protesters were killed and about 20 injured, according to the media. There were no reports of casualties among the soldiers.
That 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 for Assistance for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Until Wednesday night the balance was 598 deaths.
Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 12 people were killed in a similar clash between troops and protesters on Wednesday, according to media and witnesses. The security forces fired live fire, grenades and machine guns at protesters demanding the restoration of Suu Kyi’s government, the AAPP said.
“Taze and Kale have a lot of hunters in the jungle,” said Hein Min Hteik, a resident of the region and a youth activist. “They have homemade firearms. And now they came out with their guns to protect the locals, while the people were being attacked by the junta.”
“The people will try to defend their own lives and their rights,” declared a former minister who is part of the CRPH, a group of legislators representing the overthrown civilian government.
“People will not wait for the CRPH to act,” the minister said in a video call with Reuters. “The CRPH cannot stop the possible armed resistance of the people, of the people.”
The board on Thursday arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against the coup, his sister told Reuters. In Yangon, the country’s largest city, activists put up flower-filled shoes to commemorate the dead protesters.
The AAPP has reported that 2,847 people are currently detained. Additionally, arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, and the board this week hunted down dozens of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians.
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