Politics

In Myanmar, the security forces are increasingly brutal

After the military coup, the situation escalated: Recently, some people were shot dead during demonstrations by the democracy movement.

Almost four weeks after the military coup in Myanmar, the security forces are increasingly violent against the street protests. At least six demonstrators were shot dead on Sunday, according to rescue workers and a representative of the authorities. Three men were shot in the southern coastal city of Dawei, two youths were shot in the city of Bago, and another person was killed in the economic metropolis of Yangon (Rangoon).

EPA / KAUNG ZAW HEIN

The dpa reported, citing the newspaper “The Irrawaddy”, of possibly even nine fatalities, although there should also have been victims in the city of Mandalay. An independent review of this information was initially not possible.

In addition to tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets, the security forces also used live ammunition, as the paramedic Pyae Zaw Hein told the AFP news agency. At least 20 other people were injured by rubber bullets in the Dawei incidents, he said. He believes there could be more casualties “as more and more injured people arrive,” he added. The local media portal “Dawei Watch” also reported three fatalities in the coastal city.

EPA / NYEIN CHAN NAING

The death of two 18-year-olds in Bago, reported by an ambulance driver, was also reported by local media, as a member of the government deposed by the armed forces announced via Facebook. In downtown Rangoon, where there was also one fatality, police officers began to force people apart a few minutes before the protests were scheduled to begin. It was initially unclear whether they also used live ammunition. “When we got there, the police started shooting without warning,” said 29-year-old teacher Amy Kyaw. Some of her colleagues were injured, others had gone to safety in the houses in the neighborhood.

Journalists under pressure

In other cities, too, eyewitnesses reported the increasing brutality of the forces against peaceful demonstrators. In the city of Myitkyina on the upper reaches of the Irrawaddy River, at least one journalist was beaten and arrested by police officers while trying to document the attacks, according to the local newspaper “The 74 Media”.

According to his employer, another reporter was hit by a rubber bullet in Pyay in the center of the country while covering the protests there. In the second largest city, Mandalay, it was possible to see police officers using water cannons against the demonstrators via live broadcast.

EPA / KAUNG ZAW HEIN

The demonstrators are demanding the release of “their” leader, Aung San Suu Kyi

On February 1, the military took power in the Southeast Asian country in a coup. The democratically elected government of de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted and the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was arrested. Since then, hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets against the army. So far, they have not been deterred by increasing violence and intimidation. At least five deaths had been counted by Sunday.

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