On This Day

The Day the Myanmar Junta’s Crackdown Claimed Its First Life

By The Irrawaddy 19 February 2022

On this day last year, Myanmar saw the first civilian death resulting from a police crackdown on protesters following the military’s Feb. 1 coup.

Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine died on Feb. 19, 2021 after being shot in the head during an anti-coup protest 10 days earlier in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, becoming the first protester to be killed since the coup.

The 20-year-old student had been brain dead and on life support at a Naypyitaw hospital since being shot by police on Feb. 9. She cast her first vote in the 2020 general election, the results of which were rejected by the military.

The military said it only used rubber bullets against protesters, while junta police claimed her wounds suggested she had been shot by a weapon fired by non-security personnel.

However, a video of a police captain firing shots at protesters went viral and a subsequent post-mortem showed she was killed by a live round that struck her in the head.

The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a body comprising deposed lawmakers who won seats in the 2020 general election, declared Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine a martyr and many people attended her funeral.

The military regime has been on a killing spree ever since; over 1,550 more protesters have been killed in junta crackdowns since the February coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

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