Myanmar police open fire on protesters in Mandalay leaving at least two dead, say reports

A police truck uses a water cannon to disperse protesters in Mandalay on February 20. - AP

Originally Published: 20 FEB 21 10:53 ET

By Jonny Hallam, CNN

    (CNN) -- Police opened fire on protesters in the Myanmar city of Mandalay on Saturday, leaving at least two dead, according to volunteer emergency workers cited by Reuters and AFP news agencies who have reporters on the ground.

Stringers for CNN confirm that live rounds and tear gas were used to disperse people at an anti-coup protest in the city.

In video seen by CNN a large crowd of people can be seen running away from the police and taking cover behind whatever shelter they can find.

In another video, a person can be seen being stretchered away by medics. The condition of the patient was not immediately clear.

Two different volunteer emergency workers are confirming the two dead to agencies.

"Twenty people were injured and two are dead," said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service told Reuters.

"Two people were killed and about 30 others injured, AFP reported, citing Hlaing Min Oo, the head of a Mandalay-based volunteer emergency rescue team.

"Half of the injured were shot with live rounds," he told AFP.

A young woman died on Friday after a fatal shot to the head during the anti-coup protests last week. She was the first known casualty of the pro-democracy protests that have been ongoing for two weeks, following the military's seizure of power on February 1.

In 2011, the military began opening the country up from the rule of a string of ruthless dictators and put in place reforms that allowed for democratic elections in 2015, in which ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide and formed the first civilian government since 1962.

Protests and civil disobedience movements against the military coup on February 1 have been the biggest in decades, with thousands calling for Suu Kyi to be released from detention and power be handed back to civilian control.

Myanmar Academy Award winning actress Paing Phyo Thu went into hiding with her director husband Na Gyi on Thursday along with other celebrities opposing the coup who were added to an arrest list.

Concerns had been growing over the potential for violence in Myanmar as anti-coup protesters urge supporters to take to the streets en masse, in defiance of the military generals who have deployed troops in major cities.

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said earlier in the week he was "terrified" of the potential for violence if the planned mass protests and military troops converge.

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