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YANGON: Two people were killed and 38 injured in a grenade attack on a pro-military rally in eastern Myanmar on Tuesday, a security official told AFP, as anti-coup protests were held across the country on the first anniversary of the military’s power-grab.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attack, which took place as anti-coup activists marked the coup’s anniversary with a silent strike and clapping protests, defying junta orders.

The military takeover that ended the Southeast Asian country’s brief democratic interlude and toppled civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has triggered mass protests and a crackdown on dissent.

Struggling to contain the backlash and contending with daily clashes, the junta has killed more than 1,500 civilians, according to a local monitoring group. Swathes of the country are under the control of anti-coup fighters.

Residents across commercial hub Yangon and in the city of Mandalay clapped en masse at 4 pm (0930 GMT), AFP correspondents and locals said, marking the end of a “silent strike” against the coup.

“We were clapping,” one Mandalay resident said. “Other houses in my neighbourhood clapped as well.”

Ten people were arrested for taking part in the clapping protest in Yangon, local media reported.

The junta had ordered shops to stay open Tuesday but the streets of Yangon began emptying at 10 am, a scene that was repeated in Mandalay and the southern Tanintharyi region.

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