The toll of protesters confirmed killed in Myanmar since last month’s military takeover has reached 320, a group that verifies details of deaths and arrests announced Friday.
Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said its tally includes only documented cases, with the actual number of casualties “likely much higher.” It said 11 people were killed Thursday, when it also managed to verify 23 deaths that occurred previously.
Myanmar news agencies, including the Democratic Voice of Burma and Mizzima, reported that three more people had been shot dead by security forces in the city of Myeik in southern Myanmar. Video posted on Mizzima TV’s YouTube channel showed protesters risking getting hit by gunfire to carry the bloody body of one young man who the report said had later died.
Social media posts, many including photos of bodies, indicated that as many as seven people may have been killed in various cities by nightfall on Friday. Those reports could not immediately be confirmed.
The Assistance Association described a typical deadly confrontation Thursday in Taunggyi, in Shan state in eastern Myanmar, when “the junta used live ammunition, trying to create a combat zone of residential areas, resulting in four civilians shot and killed, one dead body was dragged away, some other civilians were injured.
“Moreover, junta forces raided houses and violently arrested youths and civilians, thereafter destroying motorcycles, cars and barricades. They stormed streets unprovoked, shouted obscenities and vandalized property.”
The association said as of Thursday, 2,981 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced in the crackdown since the Feb. 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Most, including Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, remain detained.
State television MRTV reported that 322 detainees were released Friday from Insein Prison, describing them as being accused of breaking a public order law by having “demonstrated violently.” On Wednesday, more than 600 others were freed from the same prison, also without being formally charged by a court.
The army’s seizure of power halted the Southeast Asian nation’s move toward democracy that began when Suu Kyi’s party took office in 2016 for its first term, after more than five decades of military rule.
At about 4 a.m. Friday, unidentified people tossed firebombs at the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party in Yangon, but nearby residents managed to put out the fire before it could cause any major damage.