Yangon: The Myanmar junta warned anti-coup protesters they could die but thousands of people took to the streets again on Monday, with tensions soaring over the deaths of four demonstrators.
Much of Myanmar has been in uproar over the generals ousting and detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi three weeks ago.
Massive street demonstrations have taken place across the country, while a civil disobedience campaign has choked many government operations as well as businesses.
“Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life,” said a statement on state-run broadcaster MRTV on Sunday.
The statement, read out in Burmese with text of the English version on the screen, cautioned protesters against inciting “riot and anarchy”.
The warning followed the deadliest weekend since the coup — two people were killed when security forces fired at protesters in the city of Mandalay, and a third man was shot dead in Yangon.
A young woman also died on Friday after being shot in the head at a protest and spending almost a fortnight on life support.
They, woman whose funeral was held on Sunday, was the first confirmed fatality of the protests, and she has emerged as a potent symbol of the anti-junta movement.
United Nations special rapporteur Tom Andrews said he was deeply concerned by the junta’s new threat.
“Warning to the junta: Unlike 1988, actions by security forces are being recorded & you will be held accountable,” he tweeted.
But protesters appeared undeterred Monday, with thousands gathering in two neighbourhoods of Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city and commercial hub.
“We came out today to join in the protest, to fight until we win,” said Kyaw Kyaw, a 23-year-old university student.
“We are worried about the crackdown, but we will move forward. We are so angry.”
In the Bahan township area, demonstrators sat on a stretch of road and created a sea of yellow and red banners in support of Suu Kyi.
Yangon residents woke up to a heavy security presence, including police and military trucks on the roads and an embassy district barricaded. AFP