Conflicts & War

Myanmar protesters defy junta to pay tribute to young slain activist

(Update 2: Adds funeral for Kyal Sin)

Yangon, Myanmar, Mar 4 (efe-epa).- A large crowd in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, defied the military junta on Thursday to hold a funeral service for a 19-year-old democracy activist who was shot by security forces a day earlier.

Wednesday was the bloodiest day since the military coup d’etat on Feb. 1, with at least 38 people killed by the Myanmar authorities and more than 100 injured, according to the United Nations.

Protesters outraged by Wednesday’s massacre started gathering in the morning in Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital, and in Mandalay, where the funeral for Kyal Sin, nicknamed Angel, was held.

She died Wednesday of a gunshot wound to the head during a protest in Mandalay. She was wearing a black T-shirt bearing the phrase “Everything will be OK” when she was murdered, an image which has since gone viral.

Her friends and family, including her father, embraced each other at the funeral, with some making the three finger-salute from “The Hunger Games” saga, a symbol of resistance and protest against abuse of power that has spread from Thailand to Myanmar and Hong Kong.

A dancer and taekwondo enthusiast, Kyal Sin has been described by other protesters as a solidarity activist who wore a name tag with a message saying she wanted to donate her organs in case she died.

In one of the photos before she died that have gone viral, the young woman appears in the crowd wearing goggles to protect herself from tear gas, a mask and a plastic bottle in her hand.

“The bottle in her hand is to help others who were hit by tear gas. She sacrificed her life to teach us that there is hope,” Aung Naing Soe, a Burmese netizen, wrote on Twitter.

Thousands of Burmese took to the streets again on Thursday in cities such as Yangon, Mandalay and the capital, Naypyido, in defiance against the junta and to call for the release of detainees, including the deposed Nobel Peace Prize winner and de facto leader of the country, Aung San Suu Kyi.

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