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Myanmar police fire indiscriminately at protesters

Posted February. 22, 2021 07:28,   

Updated February. 22, 2021 07:28


“I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I am going to ... I am not scared now,” said Thidar Hnin, speaking to Reuters over the phone after her husband, Thet Naing Win, was shot and killed by police at a demonstration in Myanmar against a military coup on Saturday. The 36-year-old carpenter was shot in the chest at a shipyard in Mandalay, the second biggest city in the country. “They took away the body to the morgue. I cannot bring him back home,” Hnin said.

According to a local emergency medical team and the media, a teenage boy was also shot in the head and died at the same rally, increasing the total number of fatalities to three including Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing who died at a demonstration on Friday.

Reports say 20 police and military trucks arrived to confront shipyard workers who were striking against the military coup on Saturday. Some of the demonstrators fired catapults at police, to which police responded with live ammunition and rubber bullets. Pictures posted on social media show that military snipers were dispatched. Twenty people were injured.

It has been reported that the 33rd Light Infantry Division that helped police disperse protesters in Mandalay was also involved in the “Rohingya genocide.” According to Frontier Myanmar on Sunday, the same division committed brutal atrocities against the Rohingya in 2017.

The use of violence has been condemned by the international community. “The use of lethal force, intimidation and harassment against peaceful demonstrators is unacceptable,” said U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Edward Price, U.S. State Department spokesman, said that the United States is “deeply concerned” by reports that Myanmar security forces have fired on protesters and continue to detain and harass demonstrators and others. “I urge the military and all security forces in Myanmar to immediately stop violence against civilians,” stated E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. Foreign ministries of France and the United Kingdom have also condemned the violence.

Jong-Yeob JO jjj@donga.com