The protesters have been defending themselves against well-armed police and soldiers with rudimentary hunting guns
Two more people were killed overnight on Monday in the town of Pinlebu, Sagaing Region, as the coup regime’s forces attacked protesting local residents who defended themselves with single-shot hunting rifles.
The deceased were two middle aged men, a protester told Myanmar Now on condition of anonymity. Earlier on Monday a protester named Aung Naing Win was killed when a bullet hit his ribs and passed through his body.
The violence began that morning when the coup regime’s forces attacked protesters with tear gas and guns outside a high school and arrested two people. When the demonstrators began demanding the release of their comrades, the junta’s force started shooting again.
Locals then fired back with traditional Tumi hunting rifles, which are loaded at the muzzle with gunpowder and are far less sophisticated or powerful than those used by police and soldiers.
“We have to prepare the gunpowder for each shot,” said the protester. “There is of course a big difference.”
Two other protesters were injured in the clash earlier on Monday. They were a woman who was shot in the left arm and a man who was shot below his armpit.
The violence continued throughout the night and by morning three government buildings had been burned down: a courthouse, the building of the local branch of the General Administration Department (GAD), and the former office of the auditor-general.
“The courthouse and the GAD offices were built with wood a long time ago,” a local resident told Myanmar Now. “But the police station is not easy to burn down,” another local said, adding the station was newly built with cement.
The regime’s forces had the advantage both in terms of location and weaponry, the resident said. It is unclear if any police or soldiers were injured.
The military sent two trucks full of soldiers from Kawlin, a town about 60km southeast of Pinlebu, to support its attack on the protesters, locals reported. But residents in between the two towns blocked the roads by chopping down trees, they said.
Thousands have been protesting in Pinlebu against the military junta on a daily basis since the first week of February. Monday was the first time the regime’s forces have shot anyone in the town.