Myanmar Regime’s Forces Kill at Least Three Protesters on New Year’s Day

By The Irrawaddy 17 April 2021

At least three people were killed and four were injured when regime forces attacked anti-regime protesters in Mogoke, a ruby town in Mandalay on Saturday, the traditional New Year’s Day in Myanmar.

Junta forces (both police and soldiers) were firing on civilians who were dispersing after an anti-regime protest about 11 a.m. Security forces had destroyed roadblocks set up by the protesters, according to the residents.

Mogoke on Saturday morning joined the nationwide demonstration in support of the National Unity Government formed by elected lawmakers a day earlier.

A man in his late 40s was hit by two bullets in the stomach and died.

The details about other victims are not yet known. However, according to video taken by Mogoke residents, police took away two injured men, apparently unconscious, in a cart. Another man who had apparently been shot in the leg is seen dragging himself away as soldiers and police open fire.

An ambulance after the injured were transferred to the hospital in Mogoke, Mandalay Region on April 17. (CJ)

According to witnesses, the junta forces took some bodies and some of the wounded from the township hospital.

The protesters had staged their daily sit-in in Mogoke before the gunfire was heard. The sound of gunfire could be heard until the afternoon, another resident who spoke in condition of anonymity said.

“More than 150 soldiers [were] shooting everywhere in the town,” said the resident. Witnesses also said that protesters resisted with improvised weapons but later retreated because they were outgunned.

In another video recorded by a local, a soldier is heard issuing the command: “I want five people [arrested], and I want them dead.”

Anti-regime protesters painted a mural on the road, welcoming the ethnic armed group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), on April 16, 2021. (CJ)

The ruby town is active in anti-regime protests and saw at least five people killed by junta forces on March 27 and today, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The nationwide death toll related to the regime’s crackdown on protest is more than 730 as of Saturday. The AAPP had recorded 728 deaths since the coup on Feb. 1 as of Friday night.

Mogoke residents have shown their support for the ethnic Kachin armed group, the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), for its attacks on regime forces. The KIA and the regime’s military clashed in Mogoke, Kachin and northern Shan states this week.

On Friday, young people were creating a mural on the surface of the road, expressing statements such as: “Welcome-KIA,” “We need help,” “Save Myanmar,” and “Join CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement).”

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