Anti-coup demonstrators in Myanmar fought back with hunting rifles and firebombs against a crackdown by security forces in a town in the northwest but at least 11 of the protesters were killed, domestic media reported on Thursday.
Initially, six truckloads of troops were deployed to quell the protesters in the town of Taze, the Myanmar Now and Irrawaddy news outlets said. When the protesters fought back with guns, knives and firebombs, five more truckloads of troop reinforcements were brought in.
Fighting continued into Thursday morning and at least 11 protesters were killed and about 20 wounded, the media said. There was no word of any casualties among the soldiers.
That would take the toll of civilians killed by security forces to over 600 since the junta seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). It had a toll of 598 dead as of Wednesday evening.
Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 11 people were killed in a similar clash on Wednesday, according to news media and witnesses. Security forces fired live rounds, grenades, and machine-guns on protesters who were demanding the restoration of Suu Kyi’s government, AAPP said.
A spokesman for the junta could not be reached for comment.
The government on Thursday arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against the coup, his sister told Reuters. In Yangon, the country’s biggest city, activists placed shoes filled with flowers to commemorate dead protesters.
AAPP has said 2,847 people were currently being held in detention.
In addition, arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, with the junta this week going after scores of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians.
Paing Takhon, 24, a model and actor well-known in Myanmar and Thailand, was one of the latest celbrities to be detained. He had condemned the military’s takeover and pledged support for Suu Kyi.
His sister, Thi Thi Lwin, told Reuters that the military detained her brother at 4.30 am at their parents’ home in Yangon, where he had been staying for several days while unwell, suffering from malaria and a heart condition.
The security forces came with eight military trucks and about 50 soldiers and it was unclear where he had been taken, she said.
The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, media reported.