Yangon: Security forces in Myanmar used violence on April 19 against demonstrators who sought to celebrate last week’s formation of a shadow government to serve as an alternative to the military junta that has held power since a February coup.
Myanmar media and posts on social networks said the violence was especially intense in Myingyan, a town in central Myanmar, where the online news site The Irrawaddy reported at least one person was killed on April 18.
Marches were held in Mandalay, the country’s second biggest city, and elsewhere to show support for the National Unity Government announced recently by protest leaders.
Security forces reportedly broke up a march at dawn in Mandalay that included Buddhist monks.
Myanmar Now, a news website, said security forces on April 18 launched attacks in Myingyan with the main target being a street stronghold set up by protesters, some believed armed with hunting rifles.
It said the stronghold, fortified with sandbags, was destroyed by government forces, rebuilt overnight and then destroyed again on April 19.
Security forces have killed at least 737 protesters and bystanders since the military takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests.
The government in recent weeks seems to be pursuing a strategy of hunting down individual protest leaders nationwide, while using overwhelming force, town by town, to smash street protests and intimidate participants.
The military has issued widely circulated wanted lists of more that 200 protest supporters — including actors, internet influencers and medical personnel — accused of endangering public order, a charge punishable by up to three years in prison.