Myanmar police shot dead one protester on Sunday and wounded several others as they moved to end weeks of demonstrations against the military coup, according to a local politician and news reports.
Police opened fire in the southern town of Dawei, local politician Kyaw Min Htike said. The Dawei Watch media outlet reported that one person was killed and more than a dozen were wounded.
Police and the spokesman for the ruling military council did not respond to phone calls seeking comment.
Videos posted to social media also captured escalating confrontations between protesters and security forces in the cities of Yangon and Mandalay.
In one video from the Hledan district of Yangon, shots could be heard. Local media reported that at least five people were injured in those clashes. At least five students were arrested at protests elsewhere in downtown Yangon Sunday. Shots could also be heard in a live stream posted on social media by local media from Yangon’s Tamwe township, in which crowds of protesters could be seen fleeing from police.
The military intensified its crackdown on anti-coup protesters over the weekend, with hundreds of people reportedly detained.
The clashes come a day after the ruling military junta fired the country’s United Nations ambassador for making an impassioned plea at the UN General Assembly for international action to help overturn the coup.
On Saturday, state television MRTV announced UN ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun’s removal, saying he had “abused the power and responsibilities of a permanent ambassador” and that he “betrays the country.”
Speaking to Reuters following his firing, Kyaw Moe Tun said that he “decided to fight back as long as I can.”
Myanmar has seen 22 consecutive days of protests since the country’s military seized power in a coup on February 1, ousting the democratically-elected government of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been detained alongside other government leaders including President Win Myint.
Addressing the assembly in New York on Friday, Kyaw Moe Tun defied the military rulers now in control of the country and urged the UN Security Council and the world to use “any means necessary” to rescue the people of Myanmar and hold the military to account.
“We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy,” he said.
Kyaw Moe Tun said he was delivering the speech on behalf of Suu Kyi’s government, which won a landslide in the November 8 elections.
In a show of defiance, the ambassador also flashed the three fingered “Hunger Games” salute used by protestors on the streets of Myanmar and adopted from recent protests in neighboring Thailand.
The diplomat received a rare round of applause from his UN colleagues at the end of the speech. The new US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, praised the envoy’s “courageous” remarks.
“The United States continues to strongly condemn the military coup in Myanmar,” she said Friday, addressing the assembly. “And we condemn the security forces’ brutal killing of unarmed people.”
Thomas-Greenfield added that the US “will continue to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance, including to Rohingya and other vulnerable populations in Chin, Kachin, Rakhine, and Shan states.”
“The world should applaud the bravery of Representative Kyaw Moe Tun for delivering such a powerful statement on behalf of the people of Myanmar, not the illegitimate military junta,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center, said in a statement Friday.
“The international community should support the will of the people of Myanmar by recognizing the CRPH and refusing to legitimize, normalize, or cooperate with the military government.”
The military escalated its crackdown of anti-coup protesters on Saturday with hundreds reportedly arrested, including journalists.
Activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said that in towns and cities across the country, security forces fired tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannon and shot their guns into the air to disperse protesters.
A woman was reportedly shot and wounded in the central town of Monywa, according to Reuters, citing local media and an emergency worker.
In the biggest city Yangon, police fired tear gas and flash bangs to break up a group of protesters representing Myanmar’s different ethnic groups. Protesters had been chanting insults at police prior to the disruption, a witness told CNN. When the group scattered, police gave chase across the neighborhood.
In a village on the outskirts of the capital Naypyidaw, riot police use tear gas grenades and fired rubber bullets into the air to disperse hundreds of protesters.
Activist group, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that as of Saturday, it has documented 854 people who have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the February 1 coup. The group noted, however, that “hundreds of people” were arrested in Yangon and other places on Saturday.