According to multiple reports on Saturday, at least two people were killed during an anti-coup protest in Myanmar, resulting in the most violent day since the military takeover of the government on February 1.
Police reportedly confronted protesters and ship workers who were striking in the country’s second-largest city during a standoff that lasted hours. Some of the demonstrators were reported to have flung items at the police, who then tried to disperse the group. According to Reuters, “Police responded with tear gas and gunfire, and witnesses said they found the cartridges of both live rounds and rubber bullets on the ground.”
Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service, confirmed, “Twenty people were injured and two are dead.”
One man died from a head wound, media workers including Lin Khaing, an assistant editor with the Voice of Myanmar media outlet in the city, and a volunteer doctor said.
Ko Aung and the doctor said a second man was shot in the chest and died later of his wound. He was identified by relatives as Thet Naing Win, a 36-year-old carpenter.
“They took away the body to the morgue. I cannot bring him back home. Although my husband died, I still have my son,” his wife, Thidar Hnin, told Reuters by phone. “I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I am going to … I am not scared now.”
On Friday, the first anti-coup protester died “after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw …” The army said that one policeman has also died from injuries resulting from a protest.
U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price reacted to the news on Twitter, saying, “We are deeply concerned by reports that Burmese security forces have fired on protestors and continue to detain and harass demonstrators and others in Burma. We stand with the people of Burma.”
Myanmar is also known as Burma.
We are deeply concerned by reports that Burmese security forces have fired on protestors and continue to detain and harass demonstrators and others in Burma. We stand with the people of Burma.
— Ned Price (@StateDeptSpox) February 20, 2021
Britain also reportedly said that it would consider taking more action against those involved in violence against protesters, and the French foreign ministry called the violence “unacceptable.”
The protests come after Myanmar’s ousted pro-democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, faced new charges earlier in the week.
The Daily Wire reported:
Myanmar police filed a new charge against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Tuesday, which might make it possible for her to be held “indefinitely without trial as part of an intensifying crackdown by authorities who seized power in a coup,” according to The Associated Press.
The Feb. 1 military takeover in Myanmar resulted in Suu Kyi being detained and deposed. She is already facing one charge of illegal possession of “walkie-talkies — an apparent attempt to provide a legal veneer for house arrest.”
The most recent charge is for breaking a law that has reportedly been used to take legal action against those who violate COVID-19 restrictions, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told reporters after meeting with a judge in a court in Myanmar’s capital city of Naypyitaw.
The United States, Britain, Canada, and New Zealand have reportedly announced limited sanctions since the military takeover.
On February 11, the United States detailed its sanctions focusing on military leaders involved in the coup:
We join partners, allies, and others across the world in condemning the military’s actions. We stand with the duly elected representatives of the people of Burma and all those peacefully protesting this takeover. The military regime should relinquish power, restore the democratically-elected government, release all those unjustly detained, lift telecommunications and social media restrictions, and refrain from violence. Today’s action sends a clear message of support to the people of Burma in their pursuit of democracy and human rights.