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MYANMAR’S security forces opened fire on protesting health workers today and arrested leading figures of the movement against the February 1 military coup, which has suffered more than 700 deaths since the junta seized power.
Wai Moe Naing was reportedly taken into custody after being rammed off his motorbike as he led a rally in the town of Monya, 435 miles north of the largest city Yangon.
Footage showed a black car careering into a convoy of motorcycles and abducting the 25-year-old, who has emerged as one of the most prominent figures of the protest movement.
Fellow protest leader Tayzar San vowed that they would not be deterred by the crackdown.
“We have to continue the fight by doubling our energy for Ko Wai Moe Naing, for the truth, for the present and future of the country,” he said.
Solidarity Trade Union of Myanmar leader Myo Aye was also detained during protests in Yangon, according to union activist Ei Thinzar Maung.
Strikes have taken place regularly across the public sector since the military ousted the democratically elected government led by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) 10 weeks ago.
At least one man was killed as security forces opened fire at a protest by health workers in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay, local media reported.
Khit News said that soldiers had stormed the compound of a mosque and opened fire as they broke up the demonstration.
“There was no protest here. The soldiers came and seemed to be searching for someone,” said a resident who asked not to be identified.
The military has consistently denied staging a coup, claiming that it is safeguarding democracy after making unfounded allegations of electoral fraud in last November’s poll, which was won by the NLD in a landslide.
It has also denied responsibility for the bloodshed, blaming violence by demonstrators. But the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says that the security forces have killed 715 protesters since the coup.
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