(Reuters) – Myanmar Security forces arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who spoke out against the coup, on Thursday, his sister told Reuters, when activists placed flower-filled shoes in parts of Yangon to commemorate dead protesters.
Troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, activists and media said.
Almost 600 civilians have been killed by security forces in the riot since the junta took power in the elected government of Aung San Su Kyi in February, the Political Prisoners Aid Association (AAPP) said on Wednesday.
The advocacy group said 2,847 are currently in custody.
A junta spokesman could not be reached for comment.
Arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people and the junta is following numerous influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians this week.
A model and actor known in Myanmar and Thailand, 24-year-old Paing Takhon was one of the youngest to be jailed among celebrities in the country. He had condemned taking over the military and pledged support for Suu Kyi.
His sister, Thi Thi Lwin, told Reuters that the military arrested her brother at 4:30 a.m. at her parents’ home in Yangon, where he had felt uncomfortable for several days.
The security forces came with 8 military trucks and about 50 soldiers, and it was unclear where he was being taken, she said
Paing Takhon suffered from malaria and heart disease, his sister said.
The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, media reported.
Overseas, diplomatic clashes broke out again on Wednesday.
Myanmar’s ambassador to London, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said he had been expelled from the embassy. According to sources, his deputy expelled him and took over command on behalf of the military.
Kyaw Zwar Minn has separated from the ruling junta in recent weeks and has called for the detained civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be released.
“It’s kind of a coup in the middle of London … you can see they’re occupying my building,” he told Reuters.
There were similar counterclaims in embassies in other global centers and at the United Nations.
Meanwhile, Colonel-General Min Aung Hlaing, chairman of the February 1 military coup, said in a statement Wednesday that the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) had ceased operations in hospitals, schools, streets, offices and factories.
“CDM is an activity aimed at destroying the country,” he said.
Fitch Solutions said in a report that Western sanctions against the military were unlikely to restore democracy, but said the army was losing control.
It predicted a violent revolution in which the military would face an armed opposition made up of members of the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias.
“The escalating violence against civilians and ethnic militias shows that the Tatmadaw (military) is increasingly losing control of the country,” it said.
The vast majority of the people support Suu Kyi’s overthrown government, she added.
Suu Kyi and leaders of her National League for Democracy Party, which won an election in November that was annulled by the coup, are currently in custody and are charged on various charges.
The United Nations special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, hopes to visit the country in the next few days, said a UN spokesman in New York.
(Reporting by Reuters Staff; writing by Ed Davies; editing by Michael Perry)
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