Myanmar grieves after young anti-coup protester's death

Brenda Watkins
February 20, 2021

They said police and striking shipyard workers faced off for hours in Mandalay and several people with serious wounds were taken to hospital after police fired guns to break up the crowd.

At least two people have been shot dead and ten others injured during clashes in the city of Mandalay, according to the news portal Myanmar Now. She had been on life support in a hospital for more than a week with what doctors said was no chance of recovery.

She has become a symbol of resistance for protesters, who have hoisted her photos high in demonstrations and even unfurled a massive banner of artwork from a bridge showing the moment she was shot.

"She was a young person who had much hope for her future", her sister Poh Poh told AFP at the time.

Myanmar's military seized power in a coup on February 1, forcing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi into detention. "We, alongside our worldwide allies, will hold the Myanmar military to account for their violations of human rights and pursue justice for the Myanmar people".

Flowers and sympathy messages are placed on the ground in honor of Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing who died from a gunshot wound after being hit in the head last week, during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon.

Condemnation of the violence has been fierce, and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held talks with allied countries in recent days to press for a firm worldwide response.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price offered his government's condolences on Friday and reiterated calls on the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.

Aerial images taken on Friday showed streets in Yangon painted with the words "The military dictatorship must fall" in Burmese, and "We want democracy" and "Free our leaders" in English.

The military regime has so far weathered a chorus of global condemnation.

Britain and Canada announced new sanctions on Thursday and Japan said it had agreed with India, the United States and Australia on the need for democracy to be restored quickly.

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Protesters are demanding that she be released, along with other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

But since its power grab, it has instated multiple internet shutdowns, blocked some social media sites, and arrested hundreds - often in the middle of the night. The other was shot in the chest, the report said.

Almost 550 people have been detained since the coup, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Many of these detainees are civil servants who had been boycotting work as part of a civil disobedience campaign.

One teacher at the scene said she saw dozens arrested in the scuffle, including two of her colleagues.

"As protests continue to grow, Myanmar security forces must cease carrying and using lethal weapons and must respect people's right to peacefully express their grievances", Joanne Mariner, director of crisis response for Amnesty International, said in an emailed statement.

But by Saturday, the military's information team released a video of the soldier, sergeant clerk Than Lwin, sitting straight-backed against a wall, claiming he was drunk when he joined the protesters.

In the northern city of Myitkyina, a small group of protesters was forcefully dispersed by police and military wielding batons, according to video posted online and witnesses.

Suu Kyi faces a charge of violating a Natural Disaster Management Law as well as illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios.

Her trial began last week a day ahead of schedule and without her lawyer present.

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