Three men were shot dead on Monday when junta forces fired on anti-regime protesters in Pinlebu Township, Sagaing Region.
Regime security forces launched a crackdown on the protesters at around 10am Monday. Police opened fire after they arrested two youths who were at the forefront of the protest. Seven others were injured, according to Pinlebu residents who spoke anonymously.
Ko Aung Naing Win, in his twenties, was the first victim to die.
“The police arrested two protesters and also briefly detained a ward administrator who went to negotiate for their release. They opened fire on the protesters who called for the detainees’ release, injuring seven. Ko Aung Naing Win was hit in his chest and died soon after arriving at hospital,” said a rescue worker who asked not to be named.
The rescue worker said one of the injured is a 12-year-old girl who was wounded while she was closing a window at her home after hearing the sound of gunfire. She was hit in her arm and had not been present at the protest, he added.
Although the administrator was released in the afternoon, the youths are still in detention.
Two other men died after being shot in the chest on Monday evening, when police opened fire on protesters calling for the release of those detained at Pinlebu police station at around 8pm. Residents said shooting could be heard from 8 pm to the early morning on Tuesday. The Township’s court and administrative offices were also burned down on Monday night.
“Some people fired back with traditional homemade percussion lock firearms. But as they were outgunned, several people got shot by the police. Two of them: Ko Ja Pan and Ko Mya Win, both of them in their late twenties, died that night,” said a Pinlebu resident.
Monday’s incident was the first time protesters in Pinlebu have been killed in a regime crackdown. Residents said that they had heard that reinforcements for the security forces are coming to the town from Kawlin Township.
Since late March, villagers and protesters in Sagaing Region’s Pinlebu, Yinmabin, Kale and Tamu townships have used improvised weapons to defend themselves against the brutal crackdowns of the junta forces.
In Yimabin Township’s Thabyayaye village, villagers fought back when regime forces raided the village at around 3am. on April 2. Two men, U Tin Maung Myint and U Aung Nyein, died. Their bodies were retrieved on April 5 for their funerals.
A youth protester from Yinmabin told The Irrawaddy that anti-regime protests are happening every day in dozens of villages.
However, news about anti-coup protests is not as widespread as before as the regime has blocked mobile internet and public wifi nationwide since mid-March, while internet services have also been cut from 1am to 9am every day since mid- February.
Protesters in Tamu, which borders India, also told The Irrawaddy that they would stick to the plan of the Civil Defense Force to protect themselves from the military’s violence.
As of April 5, 570 people have been killed by junta forces, while 2,728 people are still being detained, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
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