Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar on April 8 fought back with handmade guns and firebombs against a crackdown by the military but at least 11 demonstrators were killed, Myanmar Now reported. The media outlet said that initially, six truckloads of troops were deployed to quell protesters in the town of Taze. However, when the demonstrators fought back with handmade guns, knives and firebombs, fiver more truckloads of troops were brought in.
At least 11 protesters were killed and about 20 others were wounded, but there was no word of any casualties among the soldiers. The Assistance for Political Prisoners (AAPP) informed that the toll of civilians killed by security forces is now over 600. The association further said that Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 12 people were killed in a similar clash between troops and protesters on Wednesday. Security forces fired live rounds, grenades and machine guns on protesters who were demanding restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, the AAPP added.
Since February 1 coup, Myanmar has been embroiled in protest against the military government, which has responded with increasingly totalitarian surveillance and censorship measures in addition to the violence. AAPP said 2,847 people were currently being held in detention. Moreover, arrest warrants have also been issued for hundreds of people, with the junta this week going after scores of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians.
Earlier this week, the authorities in Myanmar also arrested the country’s best-known comedian, Zarganar. According to AP, Zarganar was taken from his home in Yangon by police and soldiers who arrived in two army vehicles. The 60-year-old comedian is a sharp-tongued satirist who has been in and out of prison since he was active in a failed 1988 popular uprising against a previous military dictatorship. However, it is still not clear what Zarganar, whose real name is Maung Thura, has been charged with.
Meanwhile, on Monday, protesters also started a nationwide “Blood Strike” as they sprayed red paint on the roadways and smeared several cities to express solidarity with the victims shot at by the junta. In an act to honour the fallen 'pro-democracy heroes' that succumbed to the gunshot wounds of the soldiers, civilians daubed bus stations, billboards, and highways with bright red paint in the second populous city of Yangon. The civil disobedience movement also marked two long months of lethal violence, killings, and bloodshed ensued by the military since it unlawfully seized power by overthrowing the democratically elected government. Some cities witnessed protests with Padauk flowers ahead of Myanmar’s upcoming new year.