State violence in Mynmar escalated when police opened fire on hundreds of protesters in the cities across the country, killing 18, according to a UN report. It is the largest number of deaths in a single day since the coup began.
The police have increased their use of force in recent weeks, beginning with water cannons, tear gas before using rubber and then live ammunition.
On Sunday, the police descended on groups of gathering protesters, rounding them up before marches began. Footage on Twitter and Facebook shows protesters fleeing through clouds of tear gas after police open fire.
Police and military forces confronted peaceful demonstrations in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku with “lethal force and less-than-lethal force” throughout the day, said a UN human rights office spokesperson.
The violence, which has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded, “reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds.”
Since the 1st February coup, instigated due to the military’s claims of a fraudulent election, over 1,000 people have been arrested and detained, some of whom, the UN noted, “remain unaccounted for”.
Over the weekend, 85 medical professionals and students, and seven journalists, including an Associated Press photographer in Yangon, were detained by police.
Protests resumed on Myanmar’s streets on 1st March in spite of the crackdown.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned Myanmar’s security forces and the “abhorrent violence against the people of Burma and will continue to promote accountability for those responsible.”