At least two anti-coup protesters were killed by riot police in Myanmar in what was the bloodiest day since the military Feb. 1 military takeover of the government. Dozens of people were injured in the demonstration in Myanmar’s second city of Mandalay as security forces used live rounds and tear gas to disperse protesters.
“Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service, tells Reuters. Another volunteer tells AFP that 30 people were injured and “half of the injured were shot with live rounds.” One of the dead was shot in the head and died at the scene while another, identified as a 36-year-old carpenter, was shot in the chest and died on the way to the hospital.
The shootings took place near Mandalay’s Yadanabon dock, where police had used tear gas and rubber bullets earlier in the day to disperse protesters. Around 500 police officers and soldiers took part in efforts to disperse striking dock workers who had joined a national disobedience movement that aims to stop work until the military junta that took power restores the democratically elected government.
The killings Saturday came a day after a young woman who was shot in the head during protests last week died. Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, 20, was the first confirmed death in the protests that were spurred by the military coup that included the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi and others. The use of live rounds in Mandalay illustrates how security forces have been “relatively restrained” in the capital of Yangong but “appeared to be toughening their stance in areas where there is less media presence,” reports the Associated Press.
The U.S. Embassy in Myanmar condemned the fatal shootings. “No one should be harmed for exercising the right to dissent,” the embassy said on Twitter. British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab also condemned the shootings, calling htem “beyond the pale.” Raab added that “We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent.”
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