“Forgive me, wife. If I don’t go out today and if others do the same, we won’t get democracy back.” These were the last words 25-year-old Ko Chit Min Thu told his pregnant wife before joining a protest against the military regime in Yangon on Thursday.
Myanmar has seen bloody crackdowns on anti-regime protests since large-scale gatherings, largely of young people, started in February. The Irrawaddy has counted at least 70 people who have been killed by soldiers and police during crackdowns on demonstrations and more than 2,000 individuals who have been detained.
The escalating threats of killings, detentions and raids have not deterred Myanmar’s anti-regime protesters, who are determined to continue the fight until democracy is restored.
Protesters returned to the streets across the country on Thursday and continue to oppose the regime.
Ko Chit Min Thu did not return to his wife and mother. His tearful wife said that she tried to stop her husband, saying she worried their baby and unborn child could lose their father. But he replied that he must fight for democracy, she said.
He stood at the front of the protest in North Dagon Township holding a makeshift shield to protect other protesters when he was shot dead in the morning. The bullet went through the shield into his head. Another protester was severely injured with a shot to the thigh.
In the evening, residents and protesters paid their respects to Ko Chit Min Thu where he lost his life.
On Thursday, at least 12 people including Ko Chit Min Thu were killed by the military regime.
In Bago Region, another fatality was reported on Thursday and a man was wounded in his leg by gunshots.
In Mandalay Region, a 19-year-old student, Maung Lin Htet, was killed during a crackdown which included civil servants who had joined the civil disobedience movement (CDM).
The railway staff, who have joined the CDM, protested in Mandalay on Thursday behind a banner saying: “We will go back to work only after our mother [detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi] is released.”
In Myingyan Township, Mandalay Region, 22-year-old Ko Htoo Aung Kyaw, who was shot in the eye on Wednesday during a crackdown, has died.
On Thursday in Myaing Township, Magwe Region, the highest death toll was recorded on Thursday with at least eight people shot dead. Eight others were injured, of which two are in a critical condition.
A resident told The Irrawaddy that peaceful demonstrators were staging a sit-in to demand the release of two young protesters but faced a violent crackdown soon after the protest began.
“It is so terrible. How could they be so brutal to civilians? One person’s head exploded and his brain fell out in front of my eyes,” he said.
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