At least six protesters were killed by security forces in Myanmar as activists marked the death anniversary on Saturday of a student whose killing in 1988 sparked an uprising against the military government.
Three people were killed and several injured when police opened fire on a sit-in protest in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city, Reuters reported.
Another person was killed in the central town of Pyay and two died in police firing in the commercial capital Yangon overnight, domestic media reported.
The deaths came as the leaders of the United States, India, Australia and Japan vowed to work together to restore democracy in nation.
Myanmar was plunged into turmoil after the army detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and officials from her National League for Democracy party on February 1 and seized control of the country. The army has justified the coup by saying that the election, won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, was marred by fraud. The coup has triggered mass protests, daily strikes and indiscriminate police fire against anti-coup protesters.
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, at the time the biggest challenge to military rule dating back to 1962.
Aung San Suu Kyi emerged as a democracy icon during the movement and was kept under house arrest for nearly two decades.
She was released in 2008 as the military began democratic reforms. Her National League for Democracy won elections in 2015 and again in November last year.