Japanese dead, dozens hurt in Myanmar crackdown

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YANGON, Sep 27 (Reuters) A Japanese photographer was killed in Myanmar's main city today when shots were fired and police charged more than a 1,000 people protesting against decades of military rule and economic hardship.

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

Sporadic bursts of automatic rifle fire continued to be heard around the former capital's Mahabandoola Road as night fell.

Following are reports of casualties: -- Besides the dead Japanese, a hospital source said two other people were wounded when soldiers fired shots to disperse crowds on Sule Pagoda road. ''I think only a small percentage of the wounded were sent to hospital,'' the source said.

-- 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.

-- Several hundred people were forced by soldiers to lie down on their stomachs near the city's eastern racecourse. Six wounded were later taken to hospital.

REUTERS SS HS1732

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