Myanmar protests: Woman shot at as police open fire on demonstrators

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Feb 10, 2021, 12:58 PM IST
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A file photo of a protest against the February 1 military coup in Yangon. Photograph:(AFP)

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On Wednesday, Myanmar military stepped up the campaign of intimidation on the fifth consecutive day of nationwide protests

Myanmar anti-military protests can potentially take a turn for the worse as news of a woman being shot can make the agitations fiercer. As per news reports, the woman is in critical condition, fighting for her life. News of the incident broke on Wednesday morning while the shooting is understood to have taken place on Tuesday. Allegations that the military junta is using brutal force to quash protests are on the rise.

"Our sister got shot with live ammunition (yesterday), her condition is critical right now. Now we see the military is taking brutal action on us. But, we, young people, will lead the protest from various groups in every peaceful ways. We will keep fighting against the regime under our motto: the military dictatorship must fail," said Htet Shar Ko, a resident of Yangon.

The protesters are demanding that the power be restored to the democratically elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. The military deposed Suu Kyi government in a coup on February 1, 2021.

On Wednesday, Myanmar military stepped up the campaign of intimidation on the fifth consecutive day of nationwide protests.

Soldiers raided and ransacked the headquarters of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party on Tuesday night, after police shot water cannon, tear gas and rubber bullets in a sudden escalation of force against the protests sweeping the country.

A doctor in Naypyidaw also confirmed the use of live rounds that left two people critically injured, but footage showed protesters in the capital were undeterred, returning to a blockade on a major highway on Wednesday morning. 

Condemning the use of force, United Nations special rapporteur Tom Andrews said the police fire had injured a young woman, images of whom have spread like wildfire online alongside expressions of grief and fury.

"They can shoot a young woman but they can't steal the hope & resolve of a determined people," the human rights envoy wrote on Wednesday. "The world stands in solidarity with the protesters of Myanmar."

People of Myanmar found support from US too.

"We repeat our calls for the military to relinquish power, restore democratically elected government (and) release those detained," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters.

In Mandalay, the country's cultural capital and the seat of Myanmar's pre-colonial monarchy, witnesses saw security forces fire tear gas directly at protesters waving the red flags of Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party. 

State media claimed that the crowd had used "obscene language" and thrown objects at police, injuring four officers, in its first direct mention of the street protests since they began on the weekend.

"Therefore, the police members dispersed in accordance with the methods and laws," the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper reported, without mentioning other police confrontations elsewhere in the country.

Hundreds of protesters had returned to the streets of Yangon on Wednesday morning, where the day before a large crowd faced off against water cannon and a phalanx of riot police near Suu Kyi's residence.

(With AFP inputs)