Since the army seized power in February and removed the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, groups of coup opponents known as “people’s defence forces” have sprung up across Myanmar.

This photo taken and received from an anonymous source via Facebook on March 25, 2021 shows security forces holding their weapons as they look from up on a street in Taunggyi in Myanmar's Shan state, during a crackdown on protests against the military coup.
This photo taken and received from an anonymous source via Facebook on March 25, 2021 shows security forces holding their weapons as they look from up on a street in Taunggyi in Myanmar's Shan state, during a crackdown on protests against the military coup. (AFP)

Myanmar security forces and a newly formed militia group have clashed in the second-biggest city of Mandalay, according to social media posts from the group and local media reports.

Gunshots were heard on Tuesday morning in Chanmyatharzi township after security forces raided one of the bases of a group claiming to be Mandalay's new People's Defence Force.

Residents also tweeted that armoured vehicles were patrolling streets.

READ MORE: UN assembly condemns Myanmar coup, calls for arms embargo

Clampdown on protests

Since the military has seized power in February after detaining and removing the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, the security forces have put down protests opposing the military rule. 

In response, groups of opponents of the coup known as people's defence forces have sprung up across Myanmar.

Up to now, fighting involving lightly armed militias has been mainly confined to small towns and rural areas, but Mandalay's new People's Defence Force said its members responded after the army raided one of its bases.

"We retaliated as one of our guerrilla base camps was invaded," said a post on the group's Facebook page from a Major Zeekwat.

Thousands displaced

The army has responded with artillery and air strikes in other places after militia groups launched attacks on soldiers, with casualties on both sides and tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes.

The United Nations General Assembly on Friday called for a stop to the flow of arms to Myanmar and urged the military to respect the results of a November election and release political detainees, including Suu Kyi.

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On Saturday, Myanmar's foreign ministry released a statement rejecting the UN resolution, which it said was "based on one-sided sweeping allegations and false assumptions".

Security forces have killed at least 873 protesters since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners activist group. 

The junta disputes that figure.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies