© Reuters. Anti-coup protesters burn a Chinese flag in Yangon
(Reuters) – Myanmar security forces arrested Paing Takhon, a model and actor who had spoken out against the coup, on Thursday, his sister told Reuters, as activists placed flower-filled shoes in parts of Yangon to commemorate to the dead protesters. Troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, activists and media said. Nearly 600 civilians have been killed by security forces in the unrest since the junta seized power from the elected Aung San Su Kyi government in February, the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Wednesday. The advocacy group said 2,847 were currently in detention. A board spokesperson could not be reached for comment. Arrest warrants have been issued for hundreds of people, and the board this week hunted down dozens of influencers, entertainers, artists and musicians. Paing Takhon, 24, a model and actor well known in Myanmar and Thailand, was one of the last to be arrested among the country’s celebrities. He had condemned the military’s takeover of power and promised support for Suu Kyi. His sister, Thi Thi Lwin, told Reuters that the military detained his brother at 4:30 a.m. at his parents’ home in Yangon, where he had stayed for several days while he was unwell. The security forces arrived with 8 military trucks and about 50 soldiers and it was not clear where they had taken him. He said Paing Takhon suffered from malaria and a heart condition, his sister said. The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was arrested on Tuesday, media reported. “EMBASSY BLOCKED” Abroad, diplomatic struggles erupted again on Wednesday. Myanmar’s ambassador to London, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said he was barred from the embassy, and sources said his deputy had barred him and taken over on behalf of the army. Kyaw Zwar Minn broke ranks with the ruling junta in recent weeks and called for the release of the detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi. “It‘s kind of a hit, in the middle of London … you can see that they occupy my building,” he told Reuters. There have also been similar counterclaims at embassies in other global centers and at the United Nations. Meanwhile, Major General Min Aung Hlaing, the leader of the February 1 military coup, said in a statement Wednesday that the civil disobedience movement, or CDM, had halted the operation of hospitals, schools, roads, offices and factories. “The CDM is an activity to destroy the country,” he said. Fitch Solutions said in a report that Western sanctions targeting the military were unlikely to restore democracy, but said the military was losing control. He predicted a violent revolution that would pit the military against an armed opposition made up of members of the anti-coup movement and ethnic militias. “The escalation of violence against civilians and ethnic militias shows that the Tatmadaw (army) is increasingly losing control of the country,” he said. The vast majority of the people support the overthrown Suu Kyi government, he added. Suu Kyi and prominent figures from her National League for Democracy party, which won an election in November that was overturned by the coup, are currently in detention and facing various charges. United Nations special envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, hopes to visit the country in the coming days, a UN spokesperson in New York said.