At least 18 people were killed during protests, according to the United Nations, with security forces opening fire on crowds.

Feb. 28, 2021

Military forces in Myanmar opened fire on crowds of peaceful demonstrators in several cities on Sunday, killing at least 18 people, the United Nations said, in a violent escalation of the junta’s efforts to suppress weeks of mass protests against its month-old coup.

Videos and photographs captured images of bodies in the street and people running from the police as tear gas and smoke filled the air. The sheer ferocity of Sunday’s crackdown — soldiers appeared to shoot at unarmed people in the streets at random and rounded up groups of demonstrators before marches could begin — drew sharp rebukes internationally.

The forceful response of the military signaled a new ruthless resolve to quash unrest after a month in which thousands have turned out regularly to protest a Feb. 1 coup. The demonstrations and civil disobedience movement have challenged the primacy of a military notorious for its brutality after having crushed democracy movements in 1988 and 2007 by shooting peaceful protesters.

“We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protesters,” said Ravina Shamdasani, a spokeswoman with the U.N. human rights office.

In the southern city of Dawei, the police opened fire on a crowd of hundreds, witnesses told The New York Times. At least three people were killed and more than 50 wounded, said Dr. Tun Min, who was treating the injured at a hospital. A second doctor, who asked not to

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