Myanmar junta cracks down on celebrations of new shadow govt

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Anti-coup protesters shout slogan with a banner reading ''Carry on revolution! We do not accept as the military slave,'' in Kamayut township of Yangon, Myanmar, Monday, April 19, 2021. Anti-coup protesters kept public demonstrations going despite the threat of lethal violence from security forces. (AP Photo)

YANGON – Security forces in Myanmar used violence on Monday against demonstrators who sought to celebrate last week’s formation of a shadow government to serve as an alternative to the military junta that has held power since a February coup.

Myanmar media and posts on social networks said the violence was especially intense in Myingyan, a town in central Myanmar, where the online news site The Irrawaddy reported at least one person was killed Sunday. Unconfirmed reports on social media said at least one more person was killed there Monday.

Marches were held in Mandalay, the country’s second biggest city, and elsewhere to show support for the “National Unity Government” announced Friday by protest leaders. Security forces reportedly broke up a march at dawn in Mandalay that included Buddhist monks.

Social media were flooded with appeals to “Please save Myingyan.”

Another news site, Myanmar Now, said security forces on Sunday launched attacks in Myingyan with the main target being a street stronghold set up by protesters, some believed armed with hunting rifles.

It said the stronghold, fortified with sandbags, was destroyed by government forces, rebuilt overnight and then destroyed again Monday morning.

Setting up street barricades is one of the tactics used by protesters against the Feb. 1 army takeover that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Often the strongholds last for just a few hours before being captured and destroyed by police and soldiers, then are rebuilt overnight.

Their defenders use homemade weapons, such as gasoline bombs, and security personnel respond with overwhelming force, frequently resulting in multiple fatalities.