At least 18 people have died in Myanmar as violence from security forces intensifies on day two of an aggressive crackdown.

Shots were fired into crowds of anti-coup protesters in several cities including Yangon, Dawei and Mandalay. Tear gas was also used in several locations.

Over 1000 individuals have been arrested for opposing the military coup d’état that overthrew the National League for Democracy Party on 1 February.

Protests had remained largely peaceful until now.

In a statement released today, Ravina Shamdasani of the United Nations Human Rights Office said: “We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protestors.

“We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all those arbitrarily detained, including members of the democratically elected government”.