Facebook Live captures moment shots fired at protests

Footage has emerged of onlookers ducking for cover as shots are fired at protests in a town in Myanmar’s southeast against a military coup, demanding the release of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Live videos posted to Facebook on Sunday afternoon show people hiding as armed, uniformed soldiers move up the street to break up protests in Myawaddy, near the border with Thailand.

Shots can be heard as the crowd of approximately 200 duck down.

Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets over the weekend, including Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, to protest against the ousting of the civilian government by the country’s military.

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According to the BBC protesters “poured in” along the main road north of Yangon, mainly younger men and women and many dressed in the red colour of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party ousted last Monday and run by Ms Suu Kyi.

Red balloons were also visible from the crowd while motorists blew horns and passengers held up photos of Ms Suu Kyi.

It’s not yet known whether the shots heard are from live bullets or other, less lethal munitions designed to break up the crowd. It is also unclear if there are any casualties, but demonstrations across the country to oppose the coup had been so far peaceful.

Ms Suu Kyi was deposed by the military at the start of February over allegations of election rigging, and has since been charged for possessing allegedly illegally imported walkie talkies.

Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the NLD, secured a landslide victory in the country’s November election, winning more than 80 per cent of the votes.

“Respect our vote,” read one of the banners as protesters marched, through the city shouting anti military slogans.

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The military is yet to present convincing evidence to back up their claims of electoral fraud.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations Parliamentarians for Human Rights chair Charles Santiago said the charges were “an absurd move by the junta to try to legitimise their illegal power grab”.

Myanmar President Win Myint has also been detained and accused of breaking coronavirus rules while meeting with people on the campaign trail.


Ms Suu Kyi’s Australian Adviser Sean Turnell, an economics professor, was recently detained but not before sending a message to Reuters staff at a bureau in the country.

“I guess you will soon hear of it, but I am being detained,” the Macquarie University economics professor said in a message he signed off with a smiling face emoji.

“Being charged with something, but not sure what,” Prof Turnell added.

“I am fine and strong, and not guilty of anything.”

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne issued a statement saying the government is “deeply concerned” about reports of Australians being arbitrarily detained in Myanmar.

“We are providing consular assistance to a number of Australians in Myanmar. In particular, we have serious concerns about an Australian who has been detained at a police station,” Ms Payne said.

“We have called in the Myanmar Ambassador and registered the Australian Government’s deep concern about these events.”

Our embassy in the country’s biggest city Yangon has been contacting Australians in the country to check on their safety “to the extent communications allow”.


The federal government has warned Australians in the country “are at risk of detention” and has advised to make arrangements to leave the country if it is safe to do so.

Smart Traveller recommends “to avoid protests and public gatherings, monitor the media and follow the advice of local authorities.

“We advise Australians remaining in Myanmar to stay at home with supplies, travel only when necessary, register with DFAT and contact friends and family to confirm you are safe.

“There are limited flights departing Yangon; book directly with airlines or through your travel agent.”

Around 400 australians in Myanmar are registered with DFAT.

The military recently took steps to close down the internet in the country, but low resolution footage appears to have still made it on to Facebook, despite bans on the platform as well as Twitter and Instagram.

As the coup unfolded last Monday, a woman livestreaming a fitness class carried on seemingly unaware as blacked out vehicles arrived to enact the coup.

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