The Irrawaddy newspaper said the victims were shot in the head during protests against the coup in Myitkyina, Kachin state.

Security forces on Monday shot dead two people in northern Myanmar, local media reported, as the military government continued its attempt to root out opposition to its February 1 coup.

The Irrawaddy newspaper said the victims were shot in the head during protests against the coup in Myitkyina, Kachin state. Graphic video on social media showed protesters on the street walking away from tear gas, responding with stones, then fleeing after a shootout from what appeared to be automatic gunfire.

Protesters hastily took away a number of injured, including one apparent death, a person who had obviously suffered a serious head injury.

A second body was seen a little later, on a stretcher, its head covered with a cloth.

Security forces also cracked down on anti-coup protesters elsewhere on Monday, firing tear gas to disperse a crowd of around 1,000 demonstrating in the capital, Naypyitaw.

Protesters deployed fire extinguishers to create a smokescreen as they fled from authorities.

Meanwhile, thousands of protesters marching in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, dispersed on their own, fearing that soldiers and police plan to use force to stop their protest.

Large-scale protests have taken place in many towns in Myanmar on a daily basis since the country’s military took power, and the security forces have responded with increasing use of lethal force and mass arrests.

The coup and its violent consequences have led foreign governments and international organizations to impose measures against Myanmar’s military leaders.

In the latest example, Australia has suspended defense cooperation with Myanmar and is redirecting humanitarian aid to the country due to the government military takeover last month and the ongoing detention of a Australian citizen.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday that diplomats and their relatives had only been able to contact economic policy adviser Sean Turnell by phone twice since his detention in early February. She described access as “very limited consular support”. Australia announced on Sunday evening that it had suspended a defense training program with Myanmar worth around A $ 1.5 million ($ 1.2 million) over five years.

The program had been limited to areas other than combat such as English training.

Australian humanitarian aid will be diverted from the Myanmar government and government entities. Instead, it will focus on the immediate humanitarian needs of Myanmar’s most vulnerable and poor, including the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities, Ms. Payne said.

Police occupied hospitals and universities on Sunday and reportedly arrested hundreds of people involved in the protest against the military takeover.

In Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, heavy gunshots rang out for a second night in a row in several neighborhoods after curfew began at 8 p.m.

The sounds of what apparently were stun grenades could also be heard in videos posted to social media.

The purpose of the security forces to use such weapons when the protesters left the streets appears to be part of a strategy to instill fear in anyone who might think of defying the authorities.

Likewise, numerous video incidents of police and soldiers in plain sight showed them savagely beating protesters they had arrested.

Some of the gunfire was heard near hospitals, where reports that residents of the neighborhood sought to block the entry of police and soldiers.

Security forces have often targeted medical personnel and facilities, attacking ambulances and their crews. Members of the medical profession have launched the Civil Disobedience Movement, which is the nominal coordinator of protests, often hailed on protesters’ placards with its initials MDP.

The takeover of hospitals would allow authorities to easily arrest injured suspected protesters.

Meanwhile, a Canada-Israel lobbyist hired by the Burmese junta said the ruling generals wanted to get out of politics and drive the nation away from China after taking power in the widely condemned coup against the civilian government. from the country.

Ari Ben-Menashe, who previously represented the military leader of Sudan and Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, spoke with The Associated Press Sunday in the United States after returning from his second trip to Myanmar last month.

He said he was confident he could persuade the Biden administration to lift sanctions on the Burmese military rulers who led last month’s coup that deposed and detained Myanmar’s elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

He said the United States and other Western countries had reduced the political conflict in Myanmar to a black and white narrative of military crackdown on pro-democracy activists that ignored the fraudulent exclusion of millions of minorities from voting in the elections. last year’s elections.

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