(CNN)- At least 38 people were killed after Myanmar's security forces opened fire on young peaceful protesters in towns and cities across the Southeast Asian nation Wednesday, in scenes described as "a war zone."
Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in the weeks since a military coup on February 1. Security forces have intensified their response in recent days, opening live fire into crowds and using tear gas, flash bangs and stun grenades on demonstrators.
Images and footage from Wednesday show bodies lying in the street surrounded by pools of blood as protesters run to take cover.
The United Nations said the total death toll since the coup had risen to 50, though activists put that total as higher.
"Today was the bloodiest day since the coup happened," Special Envoy Christine Schraner Burgener told a briefing Wednesday. About 1,200 people have been detained, with many relatives unsure where they are being held, she added.