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Seven protesters killed in Myanmar

Seven protesters killed in Myanmar
© Getty Images

Seven people were killed in Myanmar by the country's military on Wednesday as protests continued in support of the ousted civilian government and in defiance of Myanmar's military leaders.

Reuters and The Associated Press reported that five people were killed in Kale when military forces opened fire on protesters, while two others were killed by the military in the town of Bago, near Yangon, where protesters also burned a Chinese-owned factory. The AP reported the death total in Kale may have been as high as seven people, with others wounded in the fighting.

Some protesters have targeted Chinese-owned businesses in recent months due to the widespread view that Beijing is allied with Myanmar's military junta, which overthrew the civilian government earlier this year and in the weeks following waged a violent crackdown campaign against civilian demonstrators.

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Min Aung Hlaing, leader of the newly-declared military government, denounced the demonstrations in a statement obtained by Reuters.

“Although protests are staged in neighboring countries and the international community, they do not destroy businesses,” he said. “[The protests are] an activity to destroy the country.”

The U.S. and other Western governments have urged Myanmar's military to give up power and restore Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian government, while issuing sanctions targeting top military leaders.

Russia, an ally of the military government, has denounced the sanctions and warned that the U.S. and others risk civil war in the country by destabilizing the junta.