Myanmar Protest Death Toll Climbs As Regime’s Troops Keep Shooting

By The Irrawaddy 19 March 2021

At least 11 people were killed Friday by military junta security forces in southern Shan state, Yangon and Mandalay. Friday’s bloodshed brings the death toll across Myanmar to 231 since the Feb. 1 coup.

That grim number is expected go higher because many others have been severely wounded in the junta’s crackdown on pro-democracy protesters.

In Aungban Township of southern Shan state, at least eight people were shot dead when soldiers and police fired live rounds into a crowd gathering to stage an anti-coup protest. Several protesters were also seriously wounded during the shooting.

People carry a protester who was injured during the police shooting against the anti-regime protest in Aungban, southern Shan State.

The gunfire started about 9 a.m. and did not let up until evening. Plainclothes men who were among the security forces fired on the crowd, according to locals. One man who was shot in the head was dragged away by soldiers and police before he could be identified, leaving behind a trail of blood. About 20 protesters were arrested and many of them were wounded.

In the capital of Kayah state, a midwife and 47-year-old U Shan Pu were shot with live rounds in a violent crackdown on an anti-coup protest by soldiers and police. The latter died later about 2 p.m., according to a social worker based in Loikaw. Some protesters were arrested.

A 27-year-old man, Aung Ko Ko Khant from Myingyan, Mandalay region, also died on Friday morning. He had been shot in the face on March 15 by soldiers and police. In the March 15 crackdown, six protesters, including four teens, were killed and several people were wounded.

Despite the junta’s continuing efforts to terrorize protesters with violence and torture, anti-coup demonstrations continue in several cities.

Youth protesters staged an anti-coup protest in Thaketa Township on March 19. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

In Yangon, which has seen the highest death toll across the country since the Feb. 1 coup, young protesters returned to the streets Friday and staged more protests against the repressive military regime.

A number of protesters were wounded in Thaketa Township as security forces opened fire and bulldozed roadblocks. In KyaukMyaung, the junta’s security forces also used gunfire and tear gas to disperse a crowd. Locals said at least 10 people were arrested.

Soldiers and police also broke into some homes in South Dagon in the evening. Locals reported at least two residents were shot. One died on the spot after being shot in the head.

One resident was shot in the head and died in South Dagon Township, Yangon region, on the evening of March 19. (Photo: CJ)

The junta’s security forces also arrested civilians in many townships, forcing them to remove roadblocks. Some were kicked and beaten. In a video taken by a citizen journalist in Tamwe township, soldiers and police deliberately humiliated a man, who was being used as forced labor, by ordering him to crawl along a street.

International ambassadors to Myanmar said in a joint statement that the brutal violence against unarmed civilians by security forces in Hlaing Tharyar and elsewhere in Myanmar, often under the cover of darkness, is immoral and indefensible.

“We call on Myanmar’s military to cease all violence against people of Myanmar, release all detainees, lift martial law and the nationwide state of emergency, remove telecommunications restrictions and restore the democratically elected government.”

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