Despite Sunday’s deadly attack, another anti-regime protest was held in Yangon’s Hlaing Township later in the day
Regime forces plowed into a crowd of protesters in Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township early Sunday morning, killing at least five before arresting around 15 others.
Witnesses told Myanmar Now that the incident occurred minutes after a flash mob formed at around 9am to demand an end to military rule.
Video footage of the incident shows a vehicle speeding past cars as it approached the protesters, who can be seen scattering seconds before impact. Moments later, the sound of gunfire can be heard over the screams and shouts of the protesters.
“The car accelerated and rammed into the protesters. Four or five were thrown into the air,” said a member of the protest group that organized the demonstration.
One of the protesters who managed to escape told Myanmar Now by phone that he was hit with the butt of a rifle after he was knocked down by the vehicle.
“I think they hit me to knock me unconscious so that they could continue arresting other protesters,” he said.
“I think there were only around 10 of them,” he added, referring to the junta forces responsible for the attack.
According to a local resident who witnessed the incident, soldiers beat the protesters who had fallen to the ground and aimed their rifles at people watching from their apartments.
The witness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the soldiers only allowed an ambulance into the area after they had finished washing blood off of the street.
Despite the deadly attack, another protest was held in Yangon’s Hlaing Township later in the day.
The junta’s use of lethal force against anti-regime protesters has done little to stop public displays of resistance to the February 1 coup in Yangon and other towns and cities around the country.
Zaw Min Tun, the regime’s spokesperson, was not available for comment on Sunday’s attack.
Since seizing power just over 10 months ago, the junta has murdered at least 1,300 civilians and arrested thousands more, some of whom have died in custody after being subjected to torture.
Meanwhile, clashes have intensified between the military and armed resistance groups in many parts of the country, including Chin and Kayah (Karenni) states and Sagaing and Magway regions.
Ethnic armed groups in Kachin and Kayin (Karen) states have also battled regime forces with increasing frequency since the coup, which has thrown much of the country into chaos.
In many remote areas, regime forces have suffered heavy casualties, prompting “clearance operations” that have forced tens of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.