At Least Five Protesters Killed as Junta Launches Heavy Crackdown in Kale
By The Irrawaddy 7 April 2021
At least five protesters were killed and more than 20 injured when Myanmar junta forces opened fire on a roadblock set up by anti-regime protesters as part of their defense line in Kale Township, Sagaing Region at around 5 a.m. on Wednesday.
Protesters are manning the roadblock day and night in Tahan ward. It was set up to deter police and soldiers from entering Kale.
Before the dawn crackdown, more than a dozen military trucks arrived in Kale on Tuesday, residents said. They said the Tahan roadblock was fired on with live ammunition, including rifle grenades and other explosives fired from launchers.
A protester at the Tahan roadblock, who asked not to be named, told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday morning that “five protesters died on the spot after being hit with heavy weapons when they raided our protest camp at 5 a.m.”
A rescue worker said three bodies were sent to the morgue at the public hospital, while two were sent to a military hospital on the regime forces’ orders. “We were told that the bodies would be returned to the families after they can be contacted,” he said.
Another resident who saw one of the bodies said, “One protester died after being struck in the neck, and his face was badly wounded too. It looked like he was hit by shrapnel. More than 20 people have been injured. Many were hit, but we have not been able to verify all the deaths yet.”
Residents expected more fatalities and said several clinics in the town had been raided by junta forces.
An earlier crackdown by regime forces in Tahan ward on March 28 killed five protesters. Since then, residents have tried to defend themselves using traditional homemade percussion-lock firearms.
Since last week, residents of villages and towns in several townships in Sagaing Region including Kale, Yinmabin, Pinlebu and Tamu have defended themselves against the regime forces’ brutal crackdowns. They have blocked junta forces from entering Kale, where residents have used the homemade firearms against junta forces.
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