More than 470 protesters detained in Myanmar

Police stand in formation blocking a main road in Mandalay Myanmar Saturday Feb. 27 2021. Myanmar security forces cracked

Local residents demonstrating against the appointment of a military council administrator for their ward in Yangon were fired at by police on Thursday.

The announcement came as the military intensified its crackdown on anti-coup protesters Saturday.

Myanmar's crisis took a dramatic turn on Friday when the country's ambassador to the United Nations declared his loyalty to the ousted civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi during a special session of the General Assembly, and called on the world to pressure the military to cede power.

The military has weathered rounds of global condemnation, justifying its power grab by alleging widespread fraud in November elections, which Suu Kyi's party had swept.

Police at a protest in the second city of Mandalay also fired guns, witnesses said.

However, the United Nations does not officially recognise the junta as Myanmar's new government as it has received no official notification of any change, said a UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, and so Kyaw Moe Tun remains Myanmar's UN ambassador, for now.

The military's escalation of force against pro-democracy protesters has drawn global condemnation, including from U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who warned on Twitter earlier this week that "the United States will continue to take firm action against those who perpetrate violence against the people of Burma as they demand the restoration of their democratically elected government".

At least 15 people were arrested, a police official confirmed.

"People blocked the roads without reason".

According to the association, as of Friday, 771 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 689 were being detained or sought for arrest.

Security forces also tried to thwart protests in Mandalay, where roadblocks were set up at several key intersections and the regular venues for rallies were flooded with police.

"We need further strongest possible action from the worldwide community to immediately end the military coup ... and to restore the democracy", he said.

"We're fighting to end to this military bullying which has been going on for generation after generation".

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Mandalay has been the scene of several violent confrontations, and at least four of eight confirmed deaths linked to the protests, according to the independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners.

One woman was shot and wounded in the central town of Monwya, 7Day News and an emergency worker said.

An ambulance service official later told the Reuters news agency she was in hospital, contradicting other reports she had died.

Army chief General Min Aung Hlaing now holds legislative, executive and judicial powers in Myanmar - effectively halting the country's 10-year experiment with democracy.

His voice cracking, he ended his statement by addressing people back home in Burmese and raised a three-finger salute that has been adopted by the anti-coup movement.

A big crowd of protesters later surged through town streets chanting defiance, an activist video feed showed.

State television, MRTV, said he had "betrayed the country and spoken for an unofficial organization which doesn't represent the country and had abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador".

The crackdown in Yangon came after Myanmar's ambassador to the United Nations broke ranks and made an emotional plea Friday to the worldwide community.

China's envoy did not criticize the coup and said the situation was an internal Myanmar affair, adding that China supported a diplomatic effort by southeast Asian countries to find a solution.

The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar said it was "deeply troubled" by the fatal shooting of protesters.

Some of the returnees include ethnic minorities from Rakhine and Kachin state who may have "protection concerns", said John Quinley of Fortify Rights.

The Nobel laureate faces two charges for having unregistered walkie-talkies in her residence and for breaking coronavirus rules.

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