Myanmar protesters injured as police use water cannon and ‘fire warning shots from guns’ to clear crowds


Protesters were injured as riot police fired water cannons at crowds and allegedly let off warning gunshots in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, today (Feb 9).

Onlookers said several people demonstrating against the military coup were knocked to the ground by the force of the water jets in the new capital city.

Witnesses at the scene recording video of the protest said that around two hours after the use of water cannon, police fired several warning shots from guns in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

Footage shows several victims from the rally receiving treatment after being hit by the powerful jets from the water cannon.

It came as the unrest escalated and military chiefs lead by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing threatened to use live rounds amid fears of a brutal crackdown.

The protest – the fourth consecutive day of widespread unrest – came as crowds gathered outside the United Nations building in the former capital Yangon, where many demonstrators held portraits of leader Aung San Suu Kyi who was toppled by a military coup last Monday (Feb 1).

Locals fear a crackdown in the coming days by no-nonsense military chiefs, with riot police waning protesters that live rounds could be used. Martial law has also been declared in parts of Mandalay and bans introduced on people gathering in crowds.

Supporters are calling for the release of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians who were detained as army chiefs seized power.

In astonishing scenes at the weekend, large crowds wore red as they marched towards the City Hall near Sule Pagoda, which became the focal point where dozens of smaller marches all converged. Armed riot police protected the building, which is the seat of the city’s administrative body.

Hundreds of thousands of Burmese residents including families and children lined the route and applauded as protest marches passed by.

Army chiefs reacted to the mass protests by closing Internet and phone connections across the capital on Saturday (Feb 6) shortly after 11 am local time before it was restored on Sunday (Feb 7) at around 3 pm local time.

The unrest came amid anger at the military coup that deposed Aung San Suu Kyi, who had introduced democratic reforms to the country.

Doctors, nurses, students and residents have protested and called for the civilian government to be reinstated.

The military said in a statement that ‘all authority has been given to the top army commander and a one-year state of emergency has been declared’. Reacting to events, The White House said it was ‘alarmed’ by the developments in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.

Spokesman Jen Psaki said: ‘We continue to affirm our strong support for Burma’s democratic institutions.’ America called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released and threatened to ‘take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed’.

Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began.