News World Tanks on streets and gunfire as protests continue in Myanmar

Tanks on streets and gunfire as protests continue in Myanmar

Tanks have been spotted on the streets for the first time since the coup. Photo: Getty
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Tanks have been spotted on the streets and security forces have opened fire to disperse protesters in Myanmar as mass anti-coup demonstrations continue.

There are also concerns of a possible internet and communications outage as tensions grow in the South-East Asian country.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Myanmar for a ninth day of protests on Sunday, as the new army rulers grappled to contain a strike by government workers.

As night fell, armoured vehicles were seen in the commercial capital of Yangon for the first time since the Febuary 1 coup that overthrew the the civilian government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Soldiers were deployed to power plants in the state of Kachin, leading to a confrontation with demonstrators, some of whom said they believed the army intended to cut off the electricity.

The forces fired to disperse protesters outside one plant in Kachin’s capital Myitkyina, footage broadcast live on Facebook showed, although it was not clear if they were using rubber bullets or live fire.

Embassies from the European Union, Britain, Canada and 11 other nations issued a statement late on Sunday calling on security forces to “refrain from violence against demonstrators and civilians, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government”.

The US embassy in Myanmar earlier urged American citizens to “shelter in place”, citing reports of the military movements in Yangon.

It also warned there was a possibility of a telecoms interruptions overnight between 1-9am.

Trains in parts of the country stopped running after staff refused to go to work, local media reported.

The junta ordered civil servants to go back to work, threatening action.

The army has been carrying out nightly mass arrests and on Saturday gave itself sweeping powers to detain people and search private property.

The coup came after Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in a November election that the army said was tainted with fraud – an accusation dismissed by the electoral commission.