Deaths of Protesters and Bystanders Push Myanmar Toll to at Least 596

By The Irrawaddy 7 April 2021

Myanmar saw at least 14 more violent deaths on Wednesday as the regime’s forces cracked down on anti-regime protesters from dawn to dusk in Sagaing Region in the country’s northwest and Bago Region in the central part of the country. The death toll now totals at least 596 since the Feb. 1 coup.

At least 11 protesters died when regime forces opened fire on roadblocks set up by anti-regime protesters in Sagaing Region’s Kale (Kalay) Township about 5 a.m. Wednesday. Protesters were manning the roadblock.

Kale residents resisted the violent assault with homemade firearms, but they were outgunned. More than a dozen were wounded while some 18 people, including the bystanders, were arrested.

Regime forces arrest anti-coup protesters during a crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Kale, Sagaing Region on Wednesday morning./CJ

A resident who asked not to be named told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday evening that the death toll had reached 11, with the total number of fatalities expected to rise. The wounded are scattered, and several bodies are still missing. A few of those injured are being treated at the military hospital in Kale.

Of the 11 dead, eight were killed when police and soldiers fired explosives in an attack on the Tahan roadblocks. A university student, Ko Arkar Thu Aung, 22, was among those killed in the early morning.

The other three residents killed were not part of the protest, the local source said, but their bodies were taken away by the junta forces. The three are U Van Hta Thang, a rescue worker Ko Shar Mar and U Ngu Shan Paung, who was shot dead while he was feeding his pigs.

Protesters’ roadblocks at Tahan, a defense line set up in the west of Kale Township, were destroyed. The junta forces have now occupied the area, including the public hospital and clinics.

“We are treating the injured in a secret, safe place while the junta forces have occupied the hospital and several clinics in town,” said another resident, who also spoke in condition of anonymity. The volunteer healthcare staff is treating the wounded protesters in hiding.

Defying the crackdowns, Kale residents in other parts of the town are continuing to take to the streets in protest against the regime.

The resistance is not only in Kale. Protesters in other parts of Sagaing’s Tamu and Taze were also demonstrating against the regime.

A protester, Ko Kyaw Myo Aung, was killed and five were wounded as Myanmar regime’s troops quelled anti-regime protests in Taze, Sagaing Region, for the first time on Wednesday afternoon. Until the latest crackdown, tens of thousands had joined daily rallies.

Two civilians were killed by the military regime’s forces when they opened fire randomly in residential areas of Bago during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters Wednesday morning.

A 20-year-old anti-coup protester and a 48-year-old man died after both were shot in the head. Several people were wounded and some young protesters arrested, according to a Bago resident.


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