YANGON: Myanmar’s state television on Tuesday (Feb 9) reported injuries to police during attempts to disperse protesters it said were acting aggressively, in its first acknowledgement of demonstrations taking place in the country.
MRTV on its nightly news said a police truck had been destroyed at a demonstration in Mandalay, where it showed footage of the aftermath, including injured police who it said had acted within the law.
It described the protests as being orchestrated by people who wanted to harm the nation’s stability, but made no mention of last week’s coup or other demonstrations that took place across the country.
Protesters have taken to the streets in cities and towns in the largest demonstrations in Myanmar for more than a decade against a Feb 1 military coup that ousted the elected government of veteran democracy campaigner, Aung San Suu Kyi.
On Tuesday, police fired guns, mostly into the air, and used water cannon and rubber bullets to try to clear protesters in the capital Naypyidaw, and four people were taken to hospital with what doctors initially said they believed were wounds caused by rubber bullets.
One of them, a woman, had what was most likely a fatal head wound, said a doctor who declined to be identified. The bullet could be seen lodged in her in an X-ray, the doctor said.
A man had a chest wound but was not in critical condition. It was not clear if he was hit with a bullet or rubber bullet, the doctor said.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a 2015 election but the transition to democracy was brought to a halt by the Feb 1 coup that ousted her government as it was preparing to begin its second term after her National League for Democracy (NLD) swept a Nov 8 election.
The military cited election fraud as justification for its takeover. The electoral commission dismissed accusations of fraud.
Promises on Monday from junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing to eventually hold a new election in his first address since seizing power drew scorn. He repeated unproven accusations of fraud in the election.
Min Aung Hlaing said the junta would form a “true and disciplined democracy”, different to previous eras of military rule, which brought years of isolation and poverty.
He gave no time frame but the junta has said a state of emergency would last one year.
State media signalled possible action against the protests on Monday when it said the public wanted rid of “wrongdoers”.
Orders banning gatherings of more than four people and a curfew from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. have been imposed on Yangon and Mandalay.