The Sunday Telegraph

At least two killed in Myanmar as police open fire on protesters

- By Verity Bowman

AT LEAST two people were killed in Myanmar after police sprayed live ammunition into a crowd of protesters during the bloodiest crackdown on demonstrat­ions yet.

Rapid gunshot rounds were reportedly fired by authoritie­s into groups protesting against the Feb 1 military coup, injuring more than 20 people in Mandalay, the former royal capital in the north of the country.

Thousands of protesters had taken to the streets across Myanmar demanding an end to military rule and the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, its elected leader.

Violence broke out in Mandalay when police confronted shipworker­s refusing to work with tear gas and gunfire. Some reports say demonstrat­ors fired catapults at the authoritie­s.

Witnesses claim they collected both rubber bullets and live rounds from the surroundin­g area. Numerous protesters covered in blood were carried into ambulances.

“Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service. One man died from a head wound, according to a volunteer doctor, while a second man died in hospital after being shot in the chest.

Relatives have identified the second man 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, said. “I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I am going to... I am not scared now.”

Myanmar has been rocked by the largest demonstrat­ions in more than a decade for the last three weeks. On Friday, a young woman became the first protester to die after being shot in the head. Young people in Yangon, the capital, paid their respects to Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing yesterday, laying flowers at memorial ceremonies.

“The sadness from her death is one thing, but we’ve also got courage to continue for her sake,” said Khin Maw Maw Oo, a student protester.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the shooting is “beyond the pale”. He wrote on Twitter: “We will consider further action, with our internatio­nal partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent.”

Myanmar’s 10-year dalliance with democracy was brought to an abrupt end following a military takeover in the early hours of Feb 1.

Though the powerful military had promised for weeks a coup would not take place, Ms Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party were detained in a dawn raid. They claim the country’s November elections were rigged against them. The junta has promised a democratic election will be held after a year-long period of rule.

Ms Suu Kyi is set to appear in court on March 1. She faces charges of illegally importing walkie-talkies and violating a natural disaster management law.

The British embassy responded to the events in Myanmar with dismay last night, urging the military to “stop all violence against peaceful protesters”. Along with the US, Canada and New Zealand, Britain has announced sanctions focused on military leaders.

‘They took away the body to the morgue. I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I’m going to... I am not scared now’

 ??  ?? A man lies on the ground in Mandalay after the police fired rubber bullets at crowds
A man lies on the ground in Mandalay after the police fired rubber bullets at crowds

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK