At least 82 people have been killed in one day in a crackdown by Myanmar security forces on pro-democracy protesters, with reports suggesting grenades and mortars were used on demonstrators.
Friday’s death toll in Bago was the biggest daily total for a single city since 14 March, when just over 100 people were killed in Yangon, the country’s biggest city.
The security forces were accused of using heavy weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, with photographs published on social media backing up this claim.
The figure was compiled by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which issues daily counts of casualties and arrests from the crackdown in the aftermath of the February 1 coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The coup reversed years of progress towards democracy after five decades of military rule and has again made Myanmar the focus of international scrutiny.
Their tallies are highly credible because cases are not added to their totals until they have been confirmed.
In its latest report, the group said that it expected the number of dead in Bago to rise as more cases were verified.
At least 701 protesters and bystanders, including children, have been killed by security forces since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
The attack on Bago was the third in the past week involving the massive use of force to try to crush the persistent opposition to the ruling junta.
A hardcore faction of protesters have armed themselves with homemade weapons such as firebombs in the name of self-defence.
A report by Myanmar Now said residents of Tamu, a town in the same region as Kalay, used hunting rifles on Saturday to ambush a military convoy, and claimed to kill three soldiers.
UN special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, arrived in Bangkok on Friday on a mission to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, although she has been denied permission to visit the country.