At least nine dead in Myanmar crackdown

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YANGON, Sep 27 (Reuters) At least nine people, including a Japanese photographer, were killed in Myanmar's main city today when soldiers and police fired on crowds protesting against decades of military rule, state media said.

Witnesses said scores of protesters were wounded or beaten in at least three or four incidents around Yangon after soldiers told people they had 10 minutes to clear the city centre streets or risk getting shot.

Following are details of some of the casualties: -- Japanese photographer was shot dead as soldiers fired to disperse crowds on Sule Pagoda road, witnesses said.

-- One Buddhist monk was killed in a raid on the Shwesettaw monastery, a monastic source said. The raid was one of nine at monasteries seen by the junta as fomenting the demonstrations.

In some cases, all but one or two monks were carted off in military trucks.

-- Soldiers of the 77nd Light Infantry Division opened fire into crowds on the Eastern Race Course Road after a military truck drove into protesters, onlookers said. Three people were killed on the spot.

Their bodies were dragged to the side and left in a roadside ditch. In the same incident, at least 30 people were beaten and many of them were taken to the Shinpagu Private Clinic by bystanders.

-- A British diplomat said there was evidence of ''severe beating'' of monks at the Ngwe Cha Yan monastery on the southeastern edge of Yangon. It is not known how many monks were injured.

-- At least four other people ''had been shot quite seriously'' on Tarami Street, the British diplomat said.

-- At least three or four people were wounded when the soldiers dispersed a big crowd under the Pansodan Overpass.

Among them was a 19-year-old woman, witnesses said.

-- Hundreds of people swarmed around four armoured vehicles outside the gates of the South Okkalapa monastery, the Asian Human Rights Commission said.

Soldiers fired warning shots into the air, and then shouted that they would fire into the crowds if they did not disperse.

It is not known what happened next.

-- State television said 31 security personnel had also been hurt in incidents in which protesters had tried to seize weapons.

REUTERS AE RAI2110

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