Shooting deaths of two peaceful Myanmar protesters is 'beyond the pale', says Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab

Video report by ITV News Correspondent Dan Rivers

The shooting of peaceful protesters in Myanmar which reportedly resulted in two deaths is "beyond the pale", the foreign secretary has said as he condemned the violence.

Dominic Raab said the UK will consider “further action” against those “crushing democracy” and “choking dissent”.

Local media said riot police fired live rounds in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, on Saturday.

They said one victim was shot in the head and died at the scene while another was shot in the chest and died en route to hospital.

Several other serious injuries were reported.

The shootings occurred near Mandalay’s Yadanabon dock, where tear gas and rubber bullets were used on protesters earlier in the day.

Security forces had been increasing their pressure against anti-coup protesters earlier Saturday, using water cannons, tear gas, slingshots and rubber bullets against demonstrators and striking dock workers in Mandalay.

At least five people were injured by rubber bullets and had to be carried away in ambulances, according to an Associated Press journalist who witnessed the violence.

Riot police faced off against protesters in Mandalay on Saturday. Credit: AP

Protesters have taken to the streets this month after the military took over and detained the nation’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi following her party’s landslide victory in November’s elections.

The Nobel laureate remains under house arrest on a minor charge of possessing unregistered imported walkie-talkies.

When the military seized power, it detained Suu Kyi and members of her government and prevented recently elected politicians from opening a new session of Parliament.

The junta, led by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, said it stepped in because the government failed to properly investigate allegations of fraud in last year’s election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide.

The state election commission refuted that contention, saying there is no evidence to support it.

The military justified its move by citing a clause in the 2008 constitution, implemented during military rule, that says in cases of national emergency, the government’s executive, legislative and judicial powers can be handed to the military commander-in-chief.

It is just one of many parts of the charter that ensured the military could maintain ultimate control over the country it ruled for 50 years following a 1962 coup.

The military is allowed to appoint its members to 25% of seats in Parliament and it controls several key ministries involved in security and defence.

Condemning the shootings, Mr Raab said: “The shooting of peaceful protesters in Myanmar is beyond the pale.

“We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent.”

Saturday's shootings are not the first.

Less than an hour after the 8pm curfew started on Wednesday, gunshots were heard as more than two dozen police officers with shields and helmets marched past railway workers’ housing.

Numerous videos posted on social media showed muzzle flashes as shots were heard, and some police shot slingshots and threw rocks at the buildings.

Marching chants of “left, right, left, right” could be heard along with shouts of “shoot, shoot.”

Also on Saturday, anti-coup protesters in Myanmar’s two largest cities paid tribute to a young woman who died a day earlier after being shot by police during a rally against the military takeover.

Police tactics have been getting more violent. Credit: AP

An impromptu memorial created under an elevated roadway in Yangon attracted around 1,000 protesters.

A wreath of bright yellow flowers was hung beneath a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, who was shot in the capital, Naypyitaw, on February 9 two days before her 20th birthday.

Her death on Friday, announced by her family, was the first confirmed fatality among thousands of protesters who have faced off against security forces since the coup.

The UK said on Thursday said it had imposed asset freezes and travel bans on three generals in Myanmar’s military regime in response to human rights violations.

Alongside the sanctions, the government has put in place further safeguards to prevent UK aid money indirectly supporting the military government following this month’s coup.

New measures are also being taken to stop UK businesses working with Myanmar’s military.