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From homes and streets, Myanmar citizens record spiralling bloodshed

·2 min read

March 4 (Reuters) - "I was lucky not to die," Min Thura Zaw posted on his Facebook page with a video that shows a soldier aiming in his direction in Myanmar's main city and the sound of a bullet's crack.

He ducked from the window and tumbled to safety on the floor of his apartment - all captured in one of the growing number of videos shot by householders using their mobile phones to record violence on the streets outside.

"I wanted to record the inhumanity of the military, shooting at houses and even stray dogs," Min Thura Zaw told Reuters.

"The soldier ... came back and shot (at) me intentionally... I want to send my message to the world to please try to stop these acts of inhumanity without delay."

Reuters has verified the authenticity of Min Thura Zaw's video.

A spokesman for the army and junta did not respond to a request for comment on the incident or on the recordings more broadly.

The junta has said that it has taken restrained measures against protests in line with international norms, but that it will not tolerate "riotous protesters" it says are damaging national security.

Often shaky or blurred, shot between railings or from behind curtains, the videos are sometimes the only record of the violence.

In total, at least 54 protesters have been killed since the Feb. 1 coup, according to the United Nations.

The army said it overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi after the electoral commission dismissed its accusations of fraud in a Nov. 8 election won by her party. It has promised a new election at a still unspecified date.

The home-shot videos of violence have become an important source of images for people in Myanmar and international media, including Reuters.

"These clips filmed by either journalists or ordinary citizens play a crucial role in understanding and documenting the accurate scope of atrocities," said Swe Win, editor-in-chief of the independent Myanmar Now news service.

Also, he said, they could help bring those responsible to justice in the future.

In the central town of Monywa on Wednesday, video shot from an upstairs room and verified by Reuters shows two police officers grabbing what appears to be a corpse, one pulling hands and one feet as they drag it along the ground.

Other verified videos have shown security forces using teargas, stun grenades and live ammunition.

"Now they are using real bullets, our people are in great danger," said Min Thura Zaw. "Our cause must prevail." (Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Mike Collett-White)