Burma

Four Dead, More Than 100 Wounded as Myanmar’s Military Regime Cracks Down on Anti-Coup Protesters

By The Irrawaddy 21 February 2021

YANGON—At least four people—three anti-coup protesters and a member of a civilian neighborhood protection group—had been killed by security forces as of Saturday night and more than 100 wounded in nearly two dozen crackdowns by Myanmar’s military regime on demonstrations across the country over a two-week period beginning Feb. 7

The nationwide protests gain momentum each day.

During the crackdowns, police and military personnel have used water cannon, tear gas, slingshots, rubber bullets, live ammunition and deadly air guns firing lead pellets.

Several journalists covering the anti-coup protests have been deliberately attacked by police with batons and slingshots.

Crackdowns against peaceful anti-coup demonstrations have been launched in many cities, including Mandalay, Myitkyina, Bago, Myawaddy, Thandwe, Naypyitaw, Mawlamyine and Myaungmya.

Last night, a civilian from a quarter vigilante group was shot dead by police in a civilian van in Yangon’s Shwe Pyithar Township while the man tried to enquire why the vehicle was traveling during the nighttime curfew.

On Saturday afternoon, during a raid against government personnel taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) at a dock in Mandalay, police fired live ammunition and rubber bullets against demonstrators who had appeared in the street to protect government staff from being forced to return to work.

Two were killed in the shooting and nearly 30 were injured, according to charity societies reaching the area. Dozens of people with injuries were arrested without being treated.

At least seven crackdowns aimed at anti-coup demonstrations and the civil disobedience movement of government staff have been conducted in Mandalay since Feb. 9. Mandalay is Myanmar’s biggest second-biggest city.

More than a hundred people, including a pregnant woman, have been injured.

In the Feb. 15 Mandalay crackdown, police and military personnel used batons, slingshots and deadly air guns against the protesters. They also attacked journalists and protesters from apartments with slingshots and air guns.

U Than Myat Soe, chief executive officer of Kanaung Institute, a Mandalay-based non-governmental organization working to promote democracy and public participation in governance, told The Irrawaddy that four men were shot with air guns. One has been hospitalized in critical condition after his lung was penetrated by a lead pellet fired from an air gun.

During a raid to clear squatters blocking train tracks in Mandalay on Wednesday night, police security forces, including military personnel, are believed to have used live ammunition against the protesters. A shell from a live bullet was found along with several shells of rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades near the scene.

“They [security forces] act [lawlessly] in cracking down on the anti-coup demonstrations,” said U Than Myat Soe, also a leading member of the Coordinating Committee for General Anti-Coup Strikes in Mandalay

“The military junta is now committing criminal cases,” he added.

On Friday morning, Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Kine, a student who was shot by the police at an anti-coup protest in Naypyitaw more than a week ago, died in hospital

The scene was similar during a police crackdown against anti-coup protesters in Kachin State’s Myitkyina Township on Friday morning. Police used batons and slingshots against protesters, including school teachers taking part in the CDM against the military regime

The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said that the military regime has also been arresting anti-coup protesters daily.

As of Saturday, 569 people including officials, leaders and lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD), political activists, artists, monks, writers, anti-coup protesters and government staffs involved in CDM had been arrested.

“The military regime must stop committing violence against people,” Ko Aung Myo Kyaw, a member of AAPP told The Irrawaddy.

Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across Myanmar daily to show their defiance of military rule.

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