Sunday Feb 28th, saw protesters around Myanmar rallying against a military coup. Myanmar police fired live ammunition into the crowds, leading to at least 18 deaths in various protest locations. Information on the number of deaths has come from the UN human rights office.
The military took over rule in Myanmar on Feb 1st. Since then, in all the following weeks of demonstrations against military rule, yesterday is believed to be the deadliest day of demonstrations.
According to news media AFP, three men who were shot, died later in southern Dawei city. Two teenagers were similarly killed in the town of Bago. This is according to information released to AFP from rescue workers.
According to a Facebook post made by a lawmaker from Myanmar’s ousted civilian government, a sixth person has died in Yangon.
Since the Burmese army seized power from the elected government on Feb 1st, Myanmar has been in a political chaos. Elected government leader Aung San Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership are under detention. In a November election, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) won in a landslide victory for the second time. However, the army is alleging voter fraud in the election.
Positive steps towards democracy after nearly 50 years of military rule came grinding to a halt by the coup. Hundreds of thousands of Burmese citizens came out onto the streets to protest as a result of the coup. Many Western countries have also condemned the coup.
Charles Maung Bo, the first Catholic cardinal in the Buddhist-majority country, said “ Myanmar is like a battlefield” on Twitter.
The police open fire
In different parts of the biggest city of Yangon, the police were present in full force early on Sunday. After failing to disperse crowds with stun grenades, tear gas and shots in the air, the police opened fire with live bullets. According to a report news agency Reuters, soldiers backed up the police actions.
While leaving the protest sites, fellow protesters hauled away their wounded counterparts, leaving smears of blood on pavements as shown by media images. According to an anonymous doctor, a man with a bullet in his chest died after being brought to a hospital.
The UN office reported confrontations by police and military forces with peaceful demonstrators. The authorities have used lethal force and less-than-lethal force, according to information from the UN Human Rights Office. This has left over 30 people wounded and at least 18 people dead.
“Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku. Tear gas was also reportedly used in various locations as well as flash-bang and stun grenades.”
Three protesters die in Dawei
Reuters was told by politician Kyaw Min Htike that three people in Dawei were among the dead.
During a protest in the second city of Mandalay, the Myanmar Now media outlet reported the killing of two people. Mandalay resident Sai Tun told Reuters the killing of another person, a woman, when security forces fired again later in the day.
Sai Tun said the woman was checked and pronounced dead by the medical team. Sai Tun said the medical team “confirmed she didn’t make it. She was shot in the head.”
Telephone calls seeking comment received no response from both the police and the spokesman for the ruling military council.
A teacher, Tin New Yee, is one of those dead in Yangon. Police swooped in with stun grenades to disperse a teachers’ protest. Their actions sent the crowd fleeing, according to her daughter and a fellow teacher.
Medical school attacked
A Yangon medical school was not spared either. Police forces hurled stun grenades outside the school. Doctors and students in white lab coats were seen running in all directions. Police also arrested more than 50 medical staff, according to a group called the Whitecoat Alliance of medics.
Protests in other regions broken up
Residents and media said Lashio in the northeast, Myeik in the deep south and Hpa-An in the east were other towns where police broke up protests.
Junta leader’s claim
Myanmar’s de facto leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing made a statement last week. He claimed authorities were using “minimal force” to deal with the protesters.
1st March 2021 23:00
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