On this day last year, 20-year-old student Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was shot in the head during an anti-coup protest in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, becoming the first protester to be killed since the coup.
She was on life support for 10 days before dying on Feb. 19. Her parents’ youngest daughter was never able to celebrate her 21st birthday two days after the shooting and was never able to fulfill her wish to resit her matriculation exam.
At the time Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine (also known as Ma Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing) was shot, she was in a bus shelter, taking cover from water cannon blasts. She did not attempt to get past the police barricades at the scene. She collapsed after being shot in the head. During the crackdown, another protester was shot in the chest and four others were injured.
Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine cast her first vote in the 2020 general election, the results of which were rejected by the military. It is widely believed that she was targeted among the crowd as she was wearing a red shirt. Red is the color of the National League for Democracy, the ousted party led by detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military said it only used rubber bullets against protesters and junta police said she probably died of wounds caused by another weapon.
However, a video of a police captain firing shots at protesters went viral and a forensic test showed Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was killed by a bullet in the head.
The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a body representing the deposed lawmakers from the 2020 general election, declared Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine a martyr and many attended her funeral.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 1,519 protesters have been killed by the junta since the February coup.
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