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Protesters take to streets in Myanmar despite army killings

PROTESTERS were back in the streets of Myanmar today despite a brutal crackdown that has killed more than 200 people.

A rally in Aungban was broken up by security forces who injured at least seven people as they laid into protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets. But demonstrations were held without incident in other parts of the country, calling for the fall of the military junta that seized power on February 1.

The protests came after Thursday night’s arrest of Kyi Toe, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy – the party led by Aung San Suu Kyi which won last November’s elections with around 80 per cent of the vote. Ms Suu Kyi and President Win Myint are still behind bars.

The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners reported that as of Thursday, it had verified 224 killings linked to the coup’s aftermath, more than half of them in Yangon, the biggest city. It said 2,258 people have been arrested or charged, with 1,938 still detained or evading arrest.

The junta has also muzzled the press, banning some newspapers while others have announced “voluntary” suspension of publication. No non-state newspapers were published in the country this week for the first time in eight years. Five media organisations have been banned from disseminating information in any format and around 40 journalists are believed to have been arrested.

A group of Burmese police officers who fled to India rather than follow orders to shoot protesters have spoken out about their instructions, with one saying they were told to shoot their own families if they were disloyal to the army.

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