The United Nations says Myanmar security forces opened fire on protesters Sunday in several cities, killing at 18 people and injuring more than 30.
The reported casualties make Sunday the bloodiest day in Myanmar since February first, when the military took over in a coup and detained the country's elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
"In Thanlyin township, most of the people are wearing Aung San Suu Kyi's masks during the protest to demand that she and the people who have been detained be released, using the slogan, "we are Aung San Suu Kyi."
The UN Human Rights Office said in a statement that police also detained at least 85 medical professionals and students, along with seven journalists.
"We want to protect our people as the police can't do that, but they (police) are attacking us instead. As you already know the junta is doing illegal actions, so the citizens need to protect themselves."
Myanmar's ambassador to the UN has denounced the coup. In a speech Friday, he pleaded with the UN General Assembly for international action to restore democracy in his country
"In addition to the existing support, we need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup, to stop oppressing the innocent people, to return the state power to the people and to restore the democracy."
In response to the violence, the UN, the European Union and other governments including the United States have also released statements demanding the restoration of democracy and condemning the military's actions.
Han Seong-woo, Arirang News.