Myanmar: Increasing evidence that military forces are shooting to kill as country mourns slain kids

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Wednesday was the bloodiest day in 4 weeks of protests, as safety forces opened hearth on crowds of individuals throughout the nation, killing at the very least 38 individuals. Photographs and pictures, captured by bystanders, native reporters and citizen journalists, confirmed our bodies mendacity on the street surrounded by swimming pools of blood as protesters run to take cowl. Different clips confirmed police beating detained protesters and in a single piece of footage, safety forces had been seen beating three medical charity staff with their weapons and batons.

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Amnesty mentioned the “harrowing scenes now unfolding across Myanmar shows mounting evidence of more textbook brutality” underneath the command of coup chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

“We are seeing a surge in unlawful killings, including apparent extrajudicial executions, with no apparent attempt to rein in the use of lethal force,” Gil mentioned in an announcement. “If anything, security forces appear increasingly brazen in their deployment of lethal weapons with each passing day.”

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Within the metropolis of Myinchan, close to Mandalay Wednesday, Zin Ko Ko Zaw was out protesting together with his household. Video from that day reveals individuals beating pots and pans close to of a line of protesters and safety forces, earlier than gun photographs ring out and the gang scatters.

Within the melee, Zin Ko Ko Zaw was shot within the head. His brother carried him to a ready ambulance nevertheless it was too late.

“I had to drag his body out and passed away in my hands,” the brother, Than Zaw Oo mentioned. Blood was pouring from his mouth and head.

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Zin Ko Ko Zaw would have turned 23 subsequent month. His dad and mom say he was the breadwinner of the household, working within the native market. They had been all on the protest collectively, however had been separated when the taking pictures began.

“We are risking our lives to claim victory. They don’t have any weapons, but they are fully armed. All we can do is protest. They are shooting us with live bullets, please help us,” his mom, Daw Htar mentioned.

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A demonstrator shows a bullet cartridges to the camera during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar on March 3, 2021.

CNN reached out to the ruling army regime by way of electronic mail however has not but acquired a response. The army junta beforehand claimed to be exhibiting restraint in direction of what it termed “anarchic mobs.” The state-run International New Gentle Of Myanmar mentioned “severe action will be inevitably taken” towards “riotous protesters.”

On Friday, the Myanmar Police Pressure mentioned within the International New Gentle, that “rioters armed with two weapons believed to be smoke grenades” had been discovered to be a part of protests on Wednesday. “The protesters were no longer in the normal stage of the protest but were armed with explosive devices and resorted to violence,” the report mentioned, with out offering additional proof.

Hundreds of individuals from all sections of Myanmar society have joined the protests and ongoing civil disobedience actions aiming to destabilize the brand new army regime. The largely leaderless motion, nonetheless, is spearheaded by younger individuals who have come of age within the years because the army relinquished a half century of direct rule in 2011, permitting for elections and better democratic reforms.

They now really feel as if their future has been taken away.

Donning masks and flimsy plastic helmets, younger persons are overwhelmingly on the entrance traces of the protests, constructing barricades and staring down safety forces. They’ve suffered heavy casualties.

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By day, Myanmar's protesters are defiant dissenters. By night, they're terrified of being dragged from their beds by the junta

Activist group Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners has recognized 48 individuals who have died due to the violent crackdown on protesters. Of these, half had been underneath the age of 25, with 17 individuals underneath 20 years outdated. The youngest was simply 14, the group reported.

Whereas on Thursday, the UN Kids’s Fund (UNICEF) mentioned at the very least 5 youngsters — all boys between the ages of 14 and 17 — in addition to a number of younger individuals and adults had been killed, and at the very least 4 youngsters severely wounded. The group condemned “in the strongest possible terms the use of force against children, including the use of live ammunition, and the arbitrary detention of children.”

“Our children’s legs are broken, heads have been injured, they are shot in their chest. We cannot take this anymore, they are intentionally targeting the young people with bright futures,” mentioned Zin Ko Ko Zaw’s distraught mom Daw Htar.

John Quinley, Senior Human Rights Specialist at Fortify Rights mentioned a lot of these out protesting are younger individuals of their 20s and 30s.

“This is the next generation of Myanmar that want the country to be led and governed democratically. And they want their leaders to uphold human rights principles,” mentioned Quinley. “And these are the people that are dying in the streets.”

One of many youngest killed is 16-year-old Nay Myo Aung. He was protesting together with his cousin in Mandalay on Wednesday when police and army dispersed the gang utilizing tear gasoline. As demonstrators started to construct barricades, police then started firing rubber bullets, in addition to stay ammunition, his cousin mentioned.

“I got shot with two rubber bullets and so I fell down, and then my cousin tried to lift me up and that’s when he got shot with a real bullet,” mentioned Hein Htet Aung, 17. He added the protesters had been shouting insults on the safety forces, however in any other case had been peaceable that day.

Nay Myo Aung was rushed to hospital however died a number of hours later from his accidents. The bullet shot by means of his left arm and pierced his lung, docs advised the household.

His brother Ko Ko Lin Maung, 21, mentioned he was a “good boy” who sorted their grandmother following the demise of their dad and mom.

“He died for the country, so that’s one thing we can be proud of but I only have this one little brother so I feel very sad about it,” Ko Ko Lin Maung mentioned.

People pay respects as the hearse carrying the coffin of Ma Kyal Sin drives on the street.

One other sufferer of Wednesday’s bloodshed was Ma Kyal Sin, recognized by the identify Angel. Sporting a T-shirt that learn “Everything will be OK,” Angel had recurrently joined protests combating for democracy, in accordance with her associates interviewed by Reuters. She was shot within the head by safety forces throughout an anti-coup protest that day.

Earlier than she went out protesting, the dancer and taekwondo champion had posted on social media particulars of her blood group, contact quantity and a request to donate her physique within the occasion of her demise, Reuters mentioned.

Video of her last moments confirmed her crouching on the road with different protesters, rallying the gang in Mandalay earlier than tear gasoline is thrown. The bullets adopted.

Her funeral on Thursday drew tons of of mourners, with throngs of individuals lining the route of the procession in Mandalay, holding up the three finger salute from the Starvation Video games motion pictures, which has been adopted by protesters as an emblem of resistance.

“She was a happy girl, she loved her family and her father loved her so much too,” her pal Myat Thu advised Reuters. “We are not in a war. There is no reason to use live bullets on people. If they are human, they will not do it.”

The Myanmar Police Pressure issued an announcement Friday within the International New Gentle saying they’re wanting into Ma Kyal Sin’s demise. The report mentioned police analyzed a photograph of the harm of the younger lady and concluded “it was not an injury caused by a riot weapon.” The assertion continued, if her harm had been attributable to both a “riot weapon or live ammunition” it could not be potential “for head of the deceased person to be in good condition.”

Rights teams have mentioned the extent of coordination and use of power utilized by the army junta in current protests signifies they’re not aspiring to merely disperse protesters as a type of crowd management.

People stand next to Ma Kyal Sin's coffin during her funeral ceremony.

“The similar use of excessive and lethal force by security forces in towns and cities throughout the country demonstrates coordination between units and an overarching national strategy,” rights group Fortify Rights mentioned Thursday.

“This isn’t a non lethal tactic to disperse protesters. This is an attack on peaceful protesters throughout the country,” mentioned Quinley. “And these are not crowd control techniques, this is an attack on civilians and people protesting against the military takeover.”

United Nations Particular Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, mentioned “we’re seeing orders that police and military soldiers shoot people down in cold blood.”

“They’re using 12-guage shotguns, they’re using 38 mm rifles they’re using semi-automatic rifles against peaceful protestors that pose no threat to them,” he mentioned.

Regardless of the hazards, protesters proceed to return to the streets. On Friday, police opened hearth on demonstrators in Mandalay killing one younger man, in accordance with Reuters, citing witnesses. In Yangon, protesters had been rebuilding barricades and in Shan state’s Lashio, crowds sang songs and held up the three-finger tribute.

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