Myanmar: police maraud through Yangon in overnight raids

Myanmar security forces have fired gunshots as they carried out overnight raids in the main city, Yangon, after breaking up the latest protests against the coup with tear gas and stun grenades.

More protests were planned on Sunday after local media reported that police fired tear gas shells and stun grenades to break up a protest in Yangon on Saturday.

Organisers said protests would be held in Yangon, as well as the second city of Mandalay, and in Monywa, also centres for protests in which the United Nations says security forces have killed more than 50 people.

Into the early hours of Sunday residents said soldiers and police moved into several districts of Yangon, firing shots. They arrested at least three people in Kyauktada township, residents there said. They did not know the reason for the arrests.

“They are asking to take out my father and brother. Is no one going to help us? Don’t you even touch my father and brother. Take us too if you want to take them,” one woman screamed as two of them, an actor and his son, were led off.

Soldiers also came looking for a lawyer who worked for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy but were unable to find him, a member of the now dissolved parliament, Sithu Maung, said in a Facebook post.

Police could not be reached for comment. A junta spokesman did not answer calls requesting comment.

More than 1,700 people had been detained under the junta by Saturday, according to figures from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy group.

“Detainees were punched and kicked with military boots, beaten with police batons, and then dragged into police vehicles,” AAPP said. “Security forces entered residential areas and tried to arrest further protesters, and shot at the homes, destroying many.”

Myanmar authorities said on Saturday they had exhumed the body of 19-year-old Kyal Sin, who has become an icon of the protest movement after she was shot dead in Mandalay on Wednesday while wearing a T-shirt that read “Everything will be OK”. State-run MRTV said a surgical investigation showed she could not have been killed by police because the wrong sort of projectile was found in her head and she had been shot from behind, whereas police were in front.

But photographs on the day showed her head turned away from security forces moments before she was killed. Opponents of the coup have accused authorities of an attempted cover-up.

The killings have drawn anger in the west and have been condemned by most democracies in Asia. The United States and some other western countries have imposed limited sanctions on the junta. China, though, has said the priority should be stability and that other countries should not interfere.

The military overthrew and detained the elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, on 1 February. Daily demonstrations and strikes have choked business and paralysed administration.

Protesters demand the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and the respect of November’s election, which her party won in landslide but which the army rejected. The military has said it will hold elections at an unspecified date.

The junta leader and army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, had been under western sanctions even before the coup, for a campaign of alleged ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya minority.