[Full Video] #Myanmar police using violence on anti-coup protestor – Stun Grenade, Rubber Bullets and tear gas
Police and soldiers deployed rubber bullets, tear gas and stun grenades, and beat protesters at major protest sites in Yangon on Saturday, including near Sule Pagoda downtown, Myaynigone in Sanchaung township, and Hledan in Kamayut township.
In downtown Yangon, Al Jazeera witnessed police charge at unarmed, nonviolent protesters at about noon local time. When protesters reassembled, police began using increasingly violent tactics.
Police deployed stun grenades that detonated near a group of civilians and made one arrest. Security forces brandished batons at journalists who attempted to approach and document the arrest.
About half an hour later, a few blocks away, police again charged at protesters, making at least two more arrests. One arrested man was bleeding from his face, apparently having been beaten.
Crackdowns in other parts of the city were even more severe, with reports of rubber bullets and tear gas along with stun grenades and beatings.
Journalists have also been increasingly targeted.
Local outlet Myanmar Now confirmed that a multimedia reporter was arrested while live-streaming the crackdown in Myaynigone, where police also arrested at least 20 protesters.
A Japanese journalist was detained and then released in Yangon during a similar crackdown on Friday.
A students union activist told Al Jazeera he believes the crackdowns were meant to intimidate people from turning out for the larger protests planned for Sunday but does not think they will be effective.
Instead, he thinks the tactics will simply make the situation more unstable.
“Before the crackdown, people believed in ‘non-violence’ but now we understand it is not enough. So people are preparing for self-defence,” he said in a message.
The activist said other people in Yangon had moved to protect protesters during the crackdowns.
“This morning, there was a student protest in North Okkalapa. People from North Okkalapa protected students. It is great solidarity. People are more united than before,” he said