(CNN)Armored vehicles on the streets of major Myanmar cities, an internet blackout and nighttime raids on prominent critics on Sunday, did not stop protesters taking to the streets for a tenth consecutive day on Monday to oppose the recent military coup.
Over the weekend the military continued to escalate its crackdown on dissent, with security forces in the country’s northern Kachin state firing on protesters at a power plant Sunday, after a crowd had gathered there believing the military would cut off the electricity, according to social media video and local reports.
In the confrontation, broadcast live on Facebook, soldiers and police in the state capital Myitkyina fired shots to disperse protesters, though it is unclear whether live rounds were used. Video shows security forces using water cannon and then protesters fleeing as several rounds of fire can be heard. Five journalists were reportedly arrested while covering the incident.
A witness at the scene said that the situation was “stable” until around 11 p.m. local time when the security forces used water cannon against protesters, who had built a barricade of tires and oil drums. Protesters started throwing stones, to which the security forces responded by firing rubber bullets, he said.
“It was very loud and people got really scared. It was quite horrifying to see because people were running with fear and screaming at the same time,” said the eyewitness, who didn’t want to be named for fear of retaliation.
The weekend’s events marked an escalation in the military’s continued crackdown on demonstrators and opposition leaders, since it seized power in a coup on February 1, ousting democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, detaining key government officials and forming a new ruling junta.
Suu Kyi’s detention, due to expire Monday, will be extended until a court hearing Wednesday, her lawyer said. Khin Maung Zaw said he has still not been able to see Suu Kyi but has discussed the issue of representing her with the judge.
Western diplomats on Sunday warned Myanmar’s junta that “the world is watching” and advised the military not to use violence against protesters.
“We call on security forces to refrain from violence against demonstrators and civilians, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government,” read a joint statement signed by the US, Canada, and the European Union that was published on the official Facebook pages of their embassies.
Since the takeover, hundreds of thousands of people have joined protests and civil disobedience campaigns. People could be seen on the streets in Yangon, Dawei and Myitkyina holding “Civil Disobedience Movement” signs and “Free our leader” banners, showing pictures of detained leader Suu Kyi. People also marched holding signs saying: “Stop arresting people illegally at midnight.”
The protests have swelled to include people from all sections of society, including a strike by government workers as part of a mass civil disobedience movement.
While there have not yet been many reports of injuries, police have been recorded using water cannon against protesters on previous days and have also faced allegations that they have deployed live rounds.
A young woman named Mya Thweh Thweh Khine remains in critical condition at a hospital in the capital Naypyidaw with a gunshot wound in the head, a source with direct information about the victim told CNN Friday. Video of the incident circulated online showing a young woman suddenly falling to the ground while taking cover from a water cannon at a protest. Her image has been held up at protests as a symbol for those resisting the coup.
In response to the protests, the military has sought to limit access to the internet and news services, as well as floating a potential new cyber security law that observers fear could further limit the flow of information.
Internet and mobile services were disrupted overnight Sunday into Monday, and Monitoring NGO NetBlocks said network connectivity across the country had dropped to only 14% nationwide since 1 a.m. local time.
Residents have reported a palpable fear for their safety after dark, with many scared they will be dragged out of their houses by police in nighttime raids, or are terrified of reports of arson and crime following the release of thousands of prisoners in an amnesty on Friday.