(Update 1: Upgrades death toll, adds information, re-ledes, alters headline)
Yangon, Myanmar, Mar 13 (efe-epa).- The military junta that seized power in Myanmar last month continued its deadly crackdown against anti-coup protesters across the country Saturday as security forces killed at least eight people in 24 hours.
Myanmar Now, a local news outlet, said that of the eight deaths between Friday and Saturday evening, four were reported in Mandalay and three in Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital.
Witnesses confirmed to Efe that another protester had been killed in the city of Pyay.
“We are losing more lives today. Senseless, heartless attacks by the military attempting to diminish the power of the people. The world is witnessing an illegitimate #junta government attack their own citizens. Intl action must happen,” the Network for Human Rights Documentation in Burma tweeted Saturday.
The deaths come after police opened fire overnight Friday on a crowd that had gathered outside a police station in Tharketa district of Yangon to demand the release of three youths, according to DVB News.
Candlelight vigil protests were also held overnight around the country to honor those who have been killed during the so-called “Spring Revolution” in wake of the coup.
More than 70 people have been killed “due to violent and arbitrary crackdowns,” according to the country’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The civil disobedience movement against the military junta that perpetrated the Feb. 1 coup called for widespread protests Saturday in the main cities of the country.
The deaths overnight did not prevent demonstrators returning to the streets in the country’s most populated city of Yangon Saturday, holding up the three-finger salute as well as placards as makeshift barricades blocked roads.