(Update 1: adds details, changes headline and lede, rewrites, minor edits)
Yangon, Feb 28 (efe-epa).- At least three people were killed on Sunday as Myanmar police launched violent crackdowns on anti-coup protests across the country.
In Yangon, police opened fire and launched tear gas and stun grenades against thousands of residents protesting the Feb. 1 military takeover, an EFE correspondent on the ground reported.
Photos and video posted to social media by residents and local press showed several wounded and bloody protesters. Shots could be heard, with reports of both live ammunition and rubber bullets being used by security forces.
At least one person died from a gunshot wound, local news outlet Democratic Voice of Burma said.
Demonstrators erected makeshift barricades to block police from charging protesters.
In the second city of Mandalay, a man died after being shot in the head, a witness confirmed to EFE. At least six others were injured, Myanmar Now reported.
In the southeastern city of Dawei, EFE confirmed least one person was killed, however local media outlet Dawei Watch reported three deaths.
Crackdowns were also reported at protests in Lashio, Bago, Myeik and Myitkyina.
More deaths were expected to be confirmed Sunday.
The crackdowns by the authorities against the civil disobedience movement that has been protesting for weeks against the military junta led by General Min Aung Hlaing have become increasingly violent in recent days, even though Hlaing has said authorities have been using minimal force.
However, they have not stopped the protest movement continuing throughout the country.
Demonstrators, joined by a large number of civil servants paralyzing parts of the administration, demand that the army return power to the people and recognize the results of the November 2007 election.
According to the latest report by the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least eight people have died as a result of violence following the coup, while at least another 854 have been arrested, and 83 of them have been released.
Among those still detained is the deposed elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, of whom no news has emerged for days.
Meanwhile, public television announced Saturday night the dismissal of Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun, appointed by the overthrown elected government, after calling on Friday in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly for the “strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup.”
According to state media, Tun was fired for “high treason” committed during his speech, which ended with him raising three fingers, a symbol of resistance used by protesters.
However, the military junta has not been recognized as a legitimate government by the UN.
The UN Special Rapporteur for Myanmar, Tom Andrews, praised Kyaw Moe Tun’s “remarkable act of courage” and called in a message on Twitter for other countries act against the military.
The army has justified the coup on grounds of alleged electoral fraud in the November elections, in which international observers did not detect any wrongdoing and which resulted in a landslide victory for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. EFE-EPA