The military in Myanmar on Sunday night reportedly deployed troops in hospitals and universities and arrested people during raids in several townships in the country’s largest city, Yangon.
According reports by local media including Myanmar Now, Mizzima News and Radio Free Asia, the military deployed troops in over 10 hospitals across the country, including in Yangon, and in some of the country’s universities.
Security forces arrested more than 100 people in the Shwe Pyithar township in Yangon, according to a report by Myanmar Now.
Eyewitnesses reported hearing shots and of people being injured.
“The military troops came to the hospital in our township,” Kyaw Min, a resident of North Okkalapa township in Yangon, told dpa.
“They shot at the people with live bullets,” Kyaw Min said. “Some were injured very badly, currently we don’t know about casualties. They arrested the people.”
Observers believe the increased troop deployment is aimed at a future crackdown on protests.
Earlier on Sunday, hundreds of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate in Yangon, Mandalay and cities and towns across Myanmar in one of the biggest days of protest since the military coup.
Tens of thousands of protesters in Mandalay stood in silence for two minutes in memory of those killed in the bloody crackdown on demonstrations by the police and security forces.
“Even if guns are pointing at us, we must shout our dissatisfactions from our heart,” one protester told the crowd in Mandalay. Many chanted in response, condemning the military.
At the beginning of February, the military mounted a coup to topple the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
Her party had gained power again in November elections, but the armed forces made allegations without proof of election tampering.
On Saturday night, police and security forces in Yangon carried out raids targeting campaign leaders, opposition activists and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), Suu Kyi’s party.
“They came to our street, destroyed our defence line of barricades and damaged cars in the street,” said Zar Zar, a protester based in Pazundaung township, Yangon.
NLD lawmaker Sithu Maung, of Pabedan township in Yangon, said that a NLD local official had been arrested on Saturday night during the raids and had died.
He said that efforts were being made to recover the body of Khin Maung Latt, in a post on Facebook. The cause of death was initially unclear.
Yangon residents said soldiers and police had fired shots in several districts during the night and arrested at least three people in Kyauktada township.
“The line of protest in our street has been very strong but last night, they came and destroyed our defence lines, firing shots to threaten the people,” said Chit Min, a resident in Sanchaung township in Yangon.