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Officers’ barrages said to kill 2 demonstrators in Burma

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MANDALAY, Burma – Two anti-coup protesters were shot dead by riot police who fired live on Saturday in Mandalay, Burma’s second largest city, local media reported.

One of the victims was shot in the head and died at the scene, according to Frontier Myanmar, a news and business magazine based in Rangoon, the country’s largest city. Another was shot in the chest and died on the way to the hospital.

Gallery: Protests turn violent in Burma

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Burma is often referred to as Myanmar, a name adopted by military authorities in 1989. Some nations, such as the United States and Britain, have refused to approve the name change.

Several other serious injuries were reported. The shooting took place near Mandalay’s dock in Yadanabon, where tear gas and rubber bullets were used on protesters early in the day.

News website Irrawaddy confirmed the deaths on social media.

Security forces had stepped up their crackdown on anti-coup protesters early Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, rubber plates and rubber bullets against demonstrators and strike workers in Mandalay.

At least five people were injured by rubber bullets and had to be taken to ambulances, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the violence.

About 500 police and soldiers descended on the area near Yadanabon’s dock after united bank workers joined the national civil disobedience movement, refusing to work until the military junta that took power in a February 1 coup restores the elected government democratically.

Protesters and residents were forced to flee the neighborhood as security forces pursued them.

There were reports of sounds resembling gunshots. A group of journalists were forced to flee after being targeted with tear gas and slingshots.

Earlier last week in Mandalay, security forces cracked down on state railway workers in the same way after they joined the civil disobedience movement.

Less than an hour after an evening around 8 a.m. began Wednesday, gunshots were heard as more than two dozen police officers with shields and helmets passed near the homes of railway workers. Numerous videos posted on social media showed muzzle flames as shots were heard, and several police officers used slingshot blows and threw stones at buildings. Marches were chanted “left, right, left, right” along with “shoot, shoot” shouts.

On Saturday, anti-coup protesters in Burma’s two largest cities also paid tribute to a young woman who died a day earlier after being shot by police this month during a rally against military occupation.

An improvised memorial erected under a road erected in Rangoon attracted about 1,000 protesters. A wreath of bright yellow flowers hung under a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, which was shot in the capital, Naypyitaw, on February 9, two days before her 20th birthday.

Her death on Friday, announced by her family, was the first confirmed fatality among thousands of protesters who have faced security forces since top military commander Min Aung Hlaing took power in the coup.

Protesters at the memorial chanted and held up signs reading “End of Myanmar dictatorship” and “You will remember Mya Thwet Thwet Khine”. Supporters placed roses and rose petals on the woman’s images.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price offered his government condolences Friday and reiterated calls for the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.

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In Mandalay on Saturday, a protest led by medical university students drew more than 1,000 people, many of whom also carried flowers and images of the slain woman.

Others carried signs saying “CDM”, referring to the nationwide civil disobedience movement that has encouraged doctors, engineers and others to protest the coup by refusing to work.

Across the country, protests showed no signs of slowing down despite strikes by the military government – including the sixth night in a row in which the internet was cut off for many hours.

Demonstrators gathered elsewhere in Rangoon, chanting and holding banners and images of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the democratically elected government overthrown.

Security forces have been relatively restrained so far in confronting protesters in Rangoon, but they appear to be toughening their stance in areas where there is less media presence.

The US, British and Canadian governments have imposed sanctions on the new military leaders, and they and other nations have called for the Suu Kyi administration to be reinstated.

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People water their faces with water after tear gas was used to disperse a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces snatched their pressure against anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons. , tear gas, shots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and strike workers in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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Police in riot gear storm a rally in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Security forces in Myanmar stepped up their crackdown on anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, rubber plates and rubber bullets against protesters. demonstrators and workers’ striking bench in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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A man was transported after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces stepped up their pressure against anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and hitting dock bank workers in Mandalay, the nation’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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Anti-coup protesters carry an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine with a sign reading “We Lost Our People” during an anti-coup protest rally in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Anti-coup protesters in two Myanmar’s largest cities on Saturday paid tribute to the young woman who died the day before after being shot by police during a rally against military occupation. (AP Photo)

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Anti-coup protesters from the LGBTQ community attend a rally in downtown Yangon, Myanmar on Friday, February 19, 2021. A young woman who was shot in the head by police during a protest last week against taking power by the army in Myanmar died Friday morning, her brother said. (AP Photo)

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A police truck uses a water cannon to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar, on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces raised their pressure against anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, plates rubber and bullets against demonstrators and strike staff in Mandalay, the nation’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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A man was transported after police dispersed protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces stepped up their pressure against anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and hitting dock bank workers in Mandalay, the nation’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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A man secures first aid during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces raised their pressure against anti-coup protesters on Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, rubber plates and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking workers in Mandalay, the nation’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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People rinse their faces with water after tear gas was used to disperse a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar on Saturday, February 20, 2021. Myanmar security forces snatched their pressure against anti-coup protesters, using water cannons, tear gas tear gas, shots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and strike workers in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city. (AP Photos)

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