The security forces were accused of using heavy weapons in their attacks.
Reports emerged on Saturday of at least 82 killed in the latest bloodletting by Myanmar's military, as the country's own ambassador to the United Nations called for "strong action" against the junta.
This was according to reports from independent local media and an organisation that keeps track of casualties since the February coup. By Saturday evening, the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners — a local monitoring group tracking deaths — confirmed "over 80 anti-coup protesters were killed by security forces in Bago on Friday".
Friday’s death toll in Bago was the biggest one-day total for a single city since March 14, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country’s biggest city. Bago is about 100 kilometres (60 miles) northeast of Yangon. The Associated Press is unable to independently verify the number of deaths.
Most protests in cities and town around the country are carried out by non-violent demonstrators.
The death toll of 82 was a preliminary one compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which issues daily counts of casualties and arrests from the crackdown in the aftermath of the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Their tallies are widely accepted as highly credible because cases are not added until they have been confirmed, with the details published on their website.
In its Saturday report, the group said that it expected the number of dead in Bago to rise as more cases were verified.
The online news site Myanmar Now also reported that 82 people had been killed, citing an unnamed source involved with charity rescue work. Myanmar Now and other local media said the bodies had been collected by the military and dumped on the grounds of a Buddhist pagoda.
At least 701 protesters and bystanders have been killed by security forces since the army’s takeover, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
A hardcore faction of protesters armed themselves with homemade weapons.
The attack on Bago was the third in the past week involving the massive use of force to try to crush the persistent opposition to the ruling junta.
Attacks were launched on Wednesday on hardcore opponents of military rule who had set up strongholds in the towns of Kalay and Taze in the country’s north. In both places, at least 11 people — possibly including some bystanders — were reported killed.
The security forces were accused of using heavy weapons in their attacks, including rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, though such allegations could not be independently confirmed by The Associated Press. Photos posted on social media from Bago appeared to show fragments of mortar shells.
Most protests in cities and town around the country are carried out by nonviolent demonstrators who consider themselves part of a civil disobedience movement.
But as the police and military escalated the use of lethal force, a hardcore faction of protesters armed themselves with homemade weapons such as firebombs in the name of self-defence. In Kalay, activists dubbed themselves a "civil army” and some equipped themselves with rudimentary hunting rifles that are traditional in the remote area.
The attacks come after three months of turmoil in Myanmar triggered by a Feb. 1 military coup. There was no claim of responsibility or any confirmation of any casualties in the attacks.
Myanmar activists plan fresh protests including a call for vehicle convoys to drive through intersections honking horns with occupants raising three-finger anti-coup salutes despite reports of security forces killing more people at the weekend.
The country has been in turmoil since a February 1 coup ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and triggered mass protests against the new military junta.
Police were out in force early and opened fire in different parts of the biggest city of Yangon after stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air failed to break up crowds. Soldiers also reinforced police.
The shooters claimed that the woman wanted to marry her cousin Waqas, brother of Abbas, who was living in Italy but her brother opposed it. According to the report, the brother wanted her sister to marry a well-educated person, but she refused.
Several infrastructure projects and emissions from nearby refineries were the possible reasons, said a government official who did not want to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media.
"I think it's very exciting that the UAE, an OPEC member, is going to host COP28, and it's so important that you have an oil and gas producing nation step up and say we understand the challenge of the climate crisis,” Kerry told Reuters in an interview.