At least 13 people reportedly killed and several wounded in fresh violence as military ruler says civil disobedience movement is "destroying" Myanmar.

Human rights activists hold candles during a protest against the Myanmar military coup, in Kathmandu on April 7, 2021.
Human rights activists hold candles during a protest against the Myanmar military coup, in Kathmandu on April 7, 2021. (AFP)

Myanmar troops have fired at anti-coup protesters, killing at least 13 people and wounding several, media reports said, as a series of small blasts hit the commercial capital Yangon and a Chinese-owned factory was set on fire.

Security forces opened fire on protesters in the northwestern town of Kale as they demanded the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government, local media said on Wednesday. 

A resident of the area and the Myanmar Now news outlet said 11 people were killed and several wounded.

Two protesters were killed in the town of Bago near Yangon, Myanmar Now said.

Reuters could not independently verify the toll.

The country's military ruler said the civil disobedience movement was "destroying" Myanmar.

More than 580 people have been killed, according to an activist group, in the turmoil in Myanmar since a February 1 coup that ended a brief period of civilian-led democracy and sparked nationwide protests and strikes, despite the ruling military's use of lethal force to quell the resistance.

READ MORE: More civilians brutally killed by security forces in Myanmar

'Sound bombs'

At least seven small explosions were heard in Yangon, including at government buildings, a military hospital and a shopping mall, residents said. 

There were no casualties and no claims of responsibility.

The US Embassy in Yangon said it had received reports of "handmade 'sound bombs,' or fireworks meant to create noise and cause minimal damage".

A fire broke out in the Chinese-owned JOC Garment Factory in Yangon on Wednesday, the Fire Department said.

There were no reports of casualties and no details on the extent of damage.

News outlets cited witnesses saying there were casualties and repeated gunfire. 

Mizzima news outlet said three people were killed and posted pictures on Facebook of a fire burning near parked vehicles and soldiers with rifles in the street.

The Kale resident said the information was provided to him by witnesses, who took pictures of five dead bodies. 

Reuters could not independently verify the information.

READ MORE: Myanmar junta targets celebrities promoting anti-coup protests

Internet and phone curbs

The mostly youth-led movement's ability to organise anti-coup campaigns and share information via social media and instant messaging has been severely hamstrung by curbs on broadband wireless internet and mobile data services.

Fixed-line services, which few in Myanmar have access to, are still available.

"Myanmar has been subject to a stepwise collapse into the information abyss since February," Alp Toker, founder of internet blockage observatory NetBlocks told Reuters on Wednesday. "Communications are now severely limited and available only to the few."

With print media also halted, protesters have sought workarounds to get their message across, producing their own A4-sized daily news pamphlets that are shared digitally and printed for distribute among the public.

READ MORE: Protesters look to radio, SMS as Myanmar junta cuts wireless internet

On Tuesday, Dr Sasa, who leads a parallel government of remnants of Suu Kyi's administration, said in a statement that its legal counsel would be submitting evidence of military atrocities to different United Nations human rights bodies.

He said lawyers for his Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) had received 180,000 items of evidence and would meet on Wednesday with representatives of an independent investigative mechanism for Myanmar.

Some 581 people, including dozens of children, have been shot dead by troops and police in almost daily unrest since the coup, and security forces have arrested close to 3,500 people, with 2,750 still detained, according to advocacy group the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

READ MORE: Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar use Easter eggs as symbol of junta defiance

Group compiles junta rights abuse dossier

A group representing Myanmar's ousted civilian government said Wednesday it has gathered 180,000 pieces of evidence showing rights abuses by the junta including torture and extrajudicial killings.

The Committee for Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), a group of MPs from Suu Kyi's party, said its lawyers would meet UN investigators to discuss alleged atrocities committed by the junta.

"CRPH has received 180,000 items of evidence.

This evidence shows wide-scale abuses of human rights by the military," the group said in a statement.

They include more than 540 extrajudicial executions, 10 deaths of prisoners in custody, torture, illegal detentions and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protests, the statement said.

Nearly 50 of the dead were children.

READ MORE: World leaders condemn Myanmar junta's killing of anti-coup protesters

Junta 'losing control'

Arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, with the junta this week going after scores of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians.

The country's most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, local media reported.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab discussed how Britain and the international community could support a Southeast Asian effort to resolve the crisis in Myanmar, Indonesia's Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi said on Wednesday, after meeting her British counterpart in Jakarta.

Indonesia is among several Southeast Asian countries leading a push for high-level regional talks on Myanmar.

Western reaction

Western countries including the United States, Britain and Australia have imposed or tightened sanctions on the generals and the military's huge network of business monopolies in response to the coup, detentions and use of lethal force against demonstrators.

The European Union is expected to follow suit.

Russia, which has shown support for Myanmar's ruling military council, on Tuesday said the West risked triggering civil war in the country by imposing sanctions on the military junta.

Fitch Solutions in a report issued on Wednesday said targeted Western sanctions alone were unlikely to succeed in restoring democracy. It predicted in the medium-term a violent revolution between the military on one side and an armed opposition comprised of members of the anti-coup movement and ethic militias.

Some ethnic military, which control large swathes of Myanmar's border regions, have said they can not stand by as the junta kills people and already engaged the military in skirmishes.

Fitch said Myanmar was heading towards being a failed state.

"The escalating violence on civilians and ethnic militias show that the Tatmadaw is increasingly losing control of the country," it said, adding that the vast majority of people backed the parallel government.

READ MORE: Fears of broader conflict as Myanmar rebels voice support for protesters

Source: TRTWorld and agencies