Police in Myanmar broke up demonstrations in several places with tear gas and gunfire Thursday.

It isn't known if there were fatalities or wounded among the protesters.

Thursday's events follow a day after the United Nations said 38 people had been killed in the bloodiest day since last month's coup.

Undeterred by the crackdown, activists said they refused to accept military rule and were determined to press for the release of elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and recognition of her victory in a November election.

"We know that we can always get shot and killed with live bullets but there is no meaning to staying alive under the junta," activist Maung Saungkha told Reuters.

Police later opened fire and used tear gas to break up protests in Yangon and the central town of Monywa, witnesses said. Police also fired in the town of Pathein, to the west of Yangon, news media reported.

In Yangon, crowds of protesters soon assembled again to chant slogans and sing.

Big crowds also gathered peacefully for rallies elsewhere, including the second city of Mandalay and in the historic temple town of Bagan, where hundreds marched carrying pictures of Suu Kyi and a banner saying: "Free our leader," witnesses said.

Earlier Thursday, five fighter jets made several low passes in formation over Mandalay, residents said, in what appeared to be a show of military might.

On Wednesday, witnesses said that Myanmar security forces opened fire on peaceful protesters across several towns and cities. The scenes were described by witnesses as being akin to a "war zone." Security forces have recently intensified their response to the protests, opting to use live rounds, stun grenades, flashbangs, and tear gas to dissipate demonstrators.

"Today was the bloodiest day since the coup happened. We need a unity of the international community, so it's up to the member states to take the right measures," Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener said in a media briefing.

Over the past four weeks, protesters have been demanding the release of arrested protesters and several democratically elected officials. This includes the country's elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and several members of his National League for Democracy Party (NLD).

Military leaders alleged that the party had won the elections in November through fraudulent means but have they have yet to provide any proof for their claims.

United Nations officials have reportedly held discussions with military leaders, demanding that they cease hostilities against protesters and release those that had been wrongly imprisoned. The United Nations Security Council reportedly said that they intend to take "strong measures" against Myanmar but officials replied that they were already "used to sanctions."

Archbishop of Yangon, Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, said on social media that some parts of Myanmar were now like Tiananmen Square. Pope Francis weighed in on the situation Wednesday, appealing to military officials to release the political prisoners and to put an end to the violence.

Activist group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that videos of the violence have been leaked, including one that showed police brutally beating emergency service personnel.

"The military is treating peaceful protestors in Yangon as a war zone. The military is creating terror, again," the AAPP said.