Burmese soldiers have opened fired on pro-democracy protesters in Rangoon, as the military junta tries to suppress the biggest challenge to its rule in nearly 20 years. The government confirms one person has been killed, but witnesses say at least four people have died in the violence.
Monks, who have been at the forefront of the demonstrations, are said to be among the victims. Witnesses say tens of thousands of people marched through Rangoon Wednesday, defying a ban on demonstrations. Residents of Burma's main city say they heard gunfire and tear gas canisters exploding throughout the day. Witnesses say more than 100 people have been arrested and hundreds injured.
The Reuters news agency reports that by nightfall, the streets were nearly deserted as a dusk-to-dawn curfew took effect. Small protests began last month over an increase in fuel prices, but in the past week, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of Rangoon and Mandalay to protest 45 years of military rule.