YANGON: Nine protesters were shot dead in Myanmar Thursday as the junta reacted to international condemnation of its crackdown by claiming ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi had accepted hefty illegal payments, reports AFP.
Diplomatic pressure has been building since the generals seized power on February 1, triggering daily protests around the country that they have struggled to quell.The United Nations on Wednesday condemned the junta's increasingly violent crackdown, which has seen more than 60 killed and 2,000 arrested, with even China -- a traditional Myanmar ally -- calling for "de-escalation" and dialogue.
Thursday saw more hardline action against demonstrators, with six killed in central Myanmar's Myaing township.
"Six men were shot dead while eight people were wounded -- with one man in a critical condition," a rescue worker told AFP.
A witness said five of them were shot in the head.
In Bago, a city north east of Yangon, Zaw Zaw Aung,33, who is deaf, was shot in the head, his father Myint Lwin told AFP.
"As a father, I am deeply sad for his death," he said.A rescue worker told AFP a 30-year-old man was killed in Mandalay, Myanmar's second largest city and another two people were injured.
"We couldn't pick up his dead body because rescue teams are being targeted these days as well," he said.
There was also a fatality in Yangon's North Dagon, where Chit Min Thu, 25, died after being shot in the head.
"I recently learnt that his wife is two months pregnant," his mother Hnin Malar Aung told AFP.
"No one will be in peace until this situation ends. They were so cruel with my son. I never expected my son would be shot in the head... I'm worried about all the unarmed youth, they will be in trouble."
A man who was wounded eight days ago at Monywa in central Myanmar died from his injuries
Thursday and a 26-year-old bank worker from Myingyan who was shot Wednesday also lost his life.
The military, which has defended its takeover by citing voting irregularities in November elections won by Suu Kyi's party, held a rare news conference Thursday accusing Suu Kyi of corruption. In the capital Naypyidaw, junta spokesman Zaw Min Tun said the detained chief minister of Yangon had admitted giving Suu Kyi $600,000 in cash, along with more than 11 kilograms ($680,000 worth) of gold.