AS FOREIGN ministers of countries bordering Myanmar set to hold talks with the country’s military Junta in an effort to quell the deadly violence, Myanmar police have continued to fire stun grenades to disperse protesters in the city of Yangon, reports said.
The talks which will hold today comes two days after the bloodiest day of unrest since the military removed Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government a month ago, unleashing anger and mass street protests across the country.
Protesters, many wearing hard hats, thick gloves and goggles and holding makeshift shields had gathered behind barricades in different parts of Yangon to chant slogans against military rule.
“If we’re oppressed, there will be explosion. If we’re hit, we’ll hit back,” the crowd chanted at one Yangon protest before police moved in to break up with stun grenades, witnesses said. There were no reports of any injuries.
According to media reports, police fired stun grenades at the crowd as they try to scare them disperse.
Other sections of main roads in downtown Yangon were eerily silent yet tense, with armed riot police stationed in the middle of major junctions. Around Sule Pagoda, a rallying point for demonstrators in recent weeks, small numbers of pedestrians quickly passed.
At least 21 protesters have been killed since the turmoil began. The army said one policeman was killed.
Hundreds of people have been arrested since the coup, according to activists. Among them is a journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), who livestreamed the arrival of security forces outside his apartment on Monday in the coastal town of Myeik, where he had been filming protests.
The coup halted Myanmar’s tentative steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule, and has drawn condemnation and sanctions from the United States and other western countries, and sparked concern among its neighbours.