Myanmar’s ruling junta says fighting between coup protesters and security forces in Mandalay Tuesday left four demonstrators dead.
A statement says security forces were met with small arms fire and grenades during a raid on a house in the country’s second-biggest city. In addition to the four dead protesters, whom the junta described as “terrorists,” 20 members of the raiding party were injured, while eight others were arrested for possession of homemade mines, hand grenades and small arms.
The junta has struggled to put down daily mass demonstrations across Myanmar since overthrowing the civilian government on February 1 and detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials. Many protesters have fled to the jungles to form self-defense forces with ethnic rebel militias, which have launched regular attacks on better equipped security forces.
An independent monitoring group says more than 870 civilians have been killed and 6,000 arrested since the coup.
The military cited widespread fraud in last November’s general election — which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy won in a landslide — as its reason for overthrowing the government. The civilian electoral commission denies the allegation.