Protester killed in central Myanmar and two Australians in custody

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YANGON (AFP) – Security forces in Myanmar shot dead an anti-coup protester Sunday, as the Australian government confirmed it is assisting two nationals who were detained after trying to leave Yangon.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since soldiers ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi last month, triggering nationwide protests demanding a return to democracy.

Security forces have responded with lethal force, using live rounds along with tear gas and rubber bullets in an effort to bring the demonstrations to heel.

One man was killed on Sunday in the central city of Monywa and at least two people were injured in a clash with security forces at barricades, two witnesses told AFP.

“I saw people carrying a man who was shot and killed,” a local resident told AFP, adding the body was taken to a local hospital.

“They used stun grenades and tear gas… later they started shooting. I don t know if the man, who died on the spot after he was hit on his head, was killed from rubber bullets or live rounds.”

– Australians in custody –

Australia s foreign ministry confirmed Sunday it was providing consular assistance to two of its nationals in Myanmar.

“Due to our privacy obligations we will not provide further detail,” a spokeswoman said.

It is understood business consultants Matthew O Kane and Christa Avery, a dual Canadian-Australian citizen, are under house arrest after trying to leave the country on a relief flight Friday.

The couple run a bespoke consultancy business in Yangon.

Canada s global affairs department said it was aware of a case involving a Canadian citizen and was “providing consular services.”

A third Australian, economist Sean Turnell, an advisor to Suu Kyi, who was arrested a week after the putsch also remains in custody.

Weekend violence failed to deter hundreds of doctors and nurses donning hard hats and brandishing posters of Suu Kyi as they marched at dawn through Mandalay, Myanmar s second-largest city and cultural capital.

Later other demonstrators placed protest signs in pot plants along a street.

By afternoon there were barricades set on fire, gunfire in the streets and at least four people injured, a doctor in Mandalay said.

Mandalay has been the scene of some of the worst violence from police and soldiers since the coup.

The protests came a day after a local monitoring group confirmed the killing of four protesters at the hands of security forces around the country.

Two of the deaths were in Yangon, the country s commercial hub, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

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