The forces in Myanmar have become increasingly hostile towards the anti-coup protesters as at least 13 people were killed on Saturday, one of the bloodiest days since the military ousted civilian government on February 1, witnesses and local media said.

More than 80 people had so far been killed, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group said. More than 2,100 people have also been arrested.

The local media quoted witness as saying five people were shot dead and several injured when police opened fire on a sit-in protest in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city.

Two people were killed in the central town of Pyay and two in police firing in the commercial capital Yangon, where three were also killed overnight.

Images on social media showed bodies lying in the street and people disfigured by bullet wounds.

Thousands of people gathered on Friday night in central Yangon to hold a vigil commemorating protesters who have died. 

Saturday’s protests erupted after posters spread on social media urging people to mark the death anniversary of Phone Maw, who was shot and killed by security forces in 1988 inside what was then known as the Rangoon Institute of Technology campus.

His shooting and that of another student who died a few weeks later sparked widespread protests against the military government known as the 8-8-88 campaign, because they peaked in August that year. An estimated 3,000 people were killed when the army crushed the uprising.

Protests continued across Myanmar, with reports emerging of more violence.

“They are shooting people, they are arresting people it is very dangerous,” Phyu Phyu Thaw, an activist in Yangon said.

“They are so brutally beating people. I saw people bleeding on the street. They are killing their own people now,” she added, describing the military’s action against protesters.


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