At least eight people have been killed in Myanmar after security forces opened fire on some of the biggest protests against military rule in days, three months after a coup plunged the country into political turmoil.
Thousands of people, in towns and cities across the country, joined the protests on Sunday calling for “the Global Myanmar Spring Revolution”. Rallies in support of the anti-coup protests also took place outside Myanmar, as Pope Francis called for peace.
“Shake the world with the voice of Myanmar people’s unity,” the organisers said in a statement.
Two people were shot and killed in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, according to the Mizzima news agency.
The Irrawaddy news site earlier posted a photograph of a man it said was a security officer in plain clothes taking aim with a rifle in Mandalay.
Three people were killed in the central town of Wetlet, the Myanmar Now news agency said, and two were killed in different towns in Shan State in the northeast, two media outlets reported. One person was also killed in the northern jade-mining town of Hpakant, according to the Kachin News Group reported.
The Reuters news agency could not verify the reports and a spokesman for the ruling government did not answer calls seeking comment.
The military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in a coup on February 1, triggered a civil disobedience movement of strikes and mass protests.