Human Interest

Young Myanmar woman shot at anti-coup protest dies

Yangon, Feb 19 (efe-epa).- A young woman who was shot in the head at a protest in Myanmar last week died on Friday, her doctor confirmed to the NGO Human Rights Watch.

Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, 20, was critically injured at a protest in Naypyitaw on Feb. 9. International human rights organizations that investigated the incident said she was shot with live ammunition.

“With regret, I confirm Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing (also known as Mya Thwe Thwe Khine) died this morning,” HRW’s Myanmar researcher Manny Maung wrote on Twitter.

“I spoke to her doctor, who told me she was taken off life support at 11.15am, with her family’s permission,” she added.

Local media also widely reported her death.

Mya, who has become a symbol of the anti-junta protests sweeping the country with vigils being held and photos of her printed on posters and hung from bridges, has become the first protester to be killed since the country’s military seized power on Feb. 1.

On the day of the protest, she had been sheltering from police water cannon at a structure with other demonstrators when she suddenly dropped to the ground, video from the scene showed.

Despite the military junta saying security forces had only deployed non-lethal weapons at the protest, both Amnesty International and HRW reported in their investigations that she was shot with live ammunition.

“The serious injuries sustained by this young woman were caused by the Myanmar police firing live ammunition directly towards peaceful protesters,” said Sam Dubberley, head of Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab, in a statement on Feb. 11.

Human Rights Watch on Feb. 9 said according to a doctor it spoke to, the woman had “a projectile lodged in her head and had lost significant brain function. He said the wound was consistent with that of live ammunition, and that a metal bullet had penetrated the back of the right ear, and stopped on the left.”

A young man was being treated at the same hospital for an upper body wound “consistent with that of live ammunition” after he was injured at the same protest, it added.

Widespread protests as part of a civil disobedience movement demanding an end to military rule and the release of detained leaders have swept the country since the coup, crippling government services and blocking traffic.

The military, which alleged fraud as its reason for seizing power and detaining democratically elected politicians such as leaders Aung San Suu Kyi and Win Myint, has arrested hundreds of people and imposed a nationwide internet blackout for the past five consecutive nights. EFE-EPA


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