Anti-coup protesters discharge fire extinguishers to counter the impact of the tear gas in Mandalay, Myanmar. AP
Seven people were killed when security forces sprayed gunfire during pre-dawn patrols of Myanmar's biggest city on Thursday, as the UN condemned the growing violence against protestors angry over the six-week-old coup.
Security forces opened fire on anti-junta protests, witnesses and local media said, as rights group Amnesty International accused the military of adopting battle tactics against demonstrators.
International pressure has been building steadily since the military ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feburary 1, triggering daily demonstrations around the country.
An anti-coup protester discharges a fire extinguisher to counter the impact of the tear gas fired by police in Yangon. AP
Six people were killed in the central town of Myaing when forces fired on a protest, one man who took part in the demonstration and helped carry bodies to hospital, told Reuters by telephone. A health worker there confirmed all six deaths, according to Reuters.
"We protested peacefully," the 31-year-old man said. "I couldn't believe they did it."
One person was killed in the North Dagon district of Yangon, Myanmar's biggest city, domestic media said. Photographs posted on Facebook showed a man lying prone on the street, bleeding from a head wound.
The military ousted and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feburary 1.
The UN Security Council unanimously agreed on a statement Wednesday condemning the Myanmar military's use of violence against peaceful anti-coup protesters.
It was the second time in just over a month that the council's 15 members, including China -- a traditional ally of Myanmar's generals -- made a rare show of unity over the crisis.
Before Thursday's deaths, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group has said more than 60 protesters have been killed and about 2,000 people detained by security forces since the Feb. 1 coup against Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government.
Anti-coup protesters retreat from the frontlines after riot policemen fire rubber bullets in Yangon on Thursday. AP
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he hoped the Security Council statement would push the military to realize it "is absolutely essential" that all prisoners are released and that the results of a November election are respected.The army has justified the coup by saying that the election, won by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, was marred by fraud - an assertion rejected by the electoral commission. The junta has promised a new election within a year, but has not set a date.
Witnesses reported the sound of gunfire and stun grenades in different parts of the commercial capital Yangon during the night, while state media on Monday said security forces were keeping a presence at hospitals and universities as part of efforts to enforce the law.
The United States and United Nations condemned the use of force against protesters, who demand the reversal of the coup and the release of Suu Kyi and other detained leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) and activists.
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