Police have fired on protesters in Myanmar killing at least nine, medics say, on the deadliest day since rallies against the country’s coup began.
Deaths were reported in Yangon, Dawei and Mandalay, as police used live rounds, rubber bullets and tear gas.
Security forces began the violent crackdown on Saturday, after weeks of largely peaceful protests against the 1 February military takeover.
Government leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were overthrown and detained.
Social media footage from Sunday showed protesters running away as police charged at them, makeshift roadblocks being erected, and several people being led away covered in blood.
The police crackdown was expanded on Sunday as coup leaders sought to quash a civil disobedience campaign that has shown no sign of ending.
What is happening on the ground?
Activists, doctors and medical workers told the BBC that at least nine people had been killed on Sunday.
The figures in unverified social media reports were much higher, in some cases more than 20.
Dozens more are said to have been injured.
In the largest city, Yangon, police fired bullets after stun grenades and tear gas failed to disperse protesters. Social media images showed blood on the streets as people were helped away by fellow protesters.
Four people are reported to have died there.
The protesters remained defiant, with some setting up barricades.
“If they push us, we’ll rise. If they attack us, we’ll defend. We’ll never kneel down to the military boots,” protester Nyan Win Shein told Reuters.
Another, Amy Kyaw, told AFP: “Police started shooting just as we arrived. They didn’t say a word of warning. Some got injured and some teachers are still hiding in neighbours’ houses.”
Some protesters were herded away in police vans.
In the south-eastern city of Dawei, security forces moved to break up a rally.
There are reports of live rounds being used. Four people were killed in the city, activists told the BBC.
Police also cracked down on a large rally in Mandalay, where police used water cannon and fired into the air. One person was killed there, the BBC has been told.
Protests have continued elsewhere, including the north-eastern town of Lashio.
The number of arrests since the protests began has not been confirmed. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group has put the figure at 850, but hundreds more appear to have been detained this weekend.
Where is Aung San Suu Kyi?
Myanmar’s civilian leader has not been seen in public since she was detained in the capital Nay Pyi Taw as the coup began.
Her supporters and many in the international community have demanded her release and the restoration of the November election result that saw her National League for Democracy party win a landslide.
Ms Suu Kyi is scheduled to face court proceedings on Monday on charges of possessing unregistered walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus rules. But her lawyer says he has been unable to speak to her.
Military leaders justified the seizure of power by alleging widespread fraud in the elections, claims dismissed by the electoral committee.
The coup has been widely condemned outside Myanmar, prompting sanctions against the military and other punitive moves.
Myanmar – the basics
- Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
- Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
- In 2017, militants from the Rohingya ethnic group attacked police posts, and Myanmar’s army and local Buddhist mobs responded with a deadly crackdown, reportedly killing thousands of Rohingya. More than half a million Rohingya fled across the border into Bangladesh, and the UN later called it a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”