Heavy fights in the eastern region of Myanmar killed police and soldiers.

People join a rally against the military coup to demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar. (Source of image: The Hindustan Times) As heavy fighting in the coup-hit country's eastern fringe, on May 23, dozens of Myanmar security force members were killed. Since February, Myanmar has been in chaos as the military uses lethal force to crackdown on dissent. According to a local monitoring group, the civilian death toll has climbed to at least 815 people. Over the weekend, there were clashes in eastern Myanmar, particularly in Kayah state's Demoso town, and in neighboring Shan state. The violence made people in the anti-junta movement form People's Defence Force (PDF) in their own town. PDF is made up of civilians who fight back against security forces using homemade weapons. PDF member, Thet Wai (29, not his actual name), said about 20 police officers died on May 23 and his side seized a police station in Moebyel town in Shan state. Thet Wai said, "I thought today is a day of conquest, but I am also worried because we have seen airstrikes and tanks today. They have much better weapons than us." A civilian fighter at Demoso (a town in Kayah state), informed that at least 13 Myanmar soldiers had got killed while rebel fighters took 4 of his security force members into custody. He added, "We intended to seize their police station, but they used helicopter airstrikes and we could not stop their reinforcement trucks getting into the town, We had to withdraw our troops from fighting." A senior leader of the Karenni National Progressive Party (an ethnic armed group) with a stronghold in Kayah state said that fight continued through Sunday night and confirmed the use of helicopters, tanks, and mortar attacks by the military in Demoso and Loikaw, the capital of Kayah State. Violence, protests, and deaths hit Myanmar ever since the military junta removed Aung San Suu Kyi who led a civilian government. The junta has used a strong-handed tactic while trying to control the situation. Meanwhile, Min Aun Hlaing, the military chief who removed Aung San Suu Kyi from power, gave a 2hr interview to Hong Kong's Phoenix Television.

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