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Jakarta Post

Myanmar protester shot in the head last week has died, brother says



Yangon, Myanmar   /   Fri, February 19, 2021   /   01:25 pm
Myanmar protester shot in the head last week has died, brother says Myanmar police (right) fire water cannon at protesters as they continue to demonstrate against the February 1 military coup in the capital Naypyidaw on February 9, 2021. (Agence France Presse/Str)

A young woman protester in Myanmar who was shot in the head last week as police tried to disperse a crowd died on Friday, her brother said.

Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, who just turned 20, had been on life support since being taken to hospital on Feb. 9, after she was hit by what doctors said was a live bullet at a protest in the capital, Naypyitaw.

"I feel really sad and have nothing to say," added her brother, Ye Htut Aung, speaking by telephone.

She is the only protester to be killed since Myanmar’s army seized power on Feb. 1 and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Thursday, military junta has issued arrest warrants against six celebrities for encouraging strikes that have paralysed many government offices in protests against this month's coup, with total arrests since then now nearing 500.

Late on Wednesday, security forces opened fire in Myanmar's second biggest city of Mandalay as they confronted railway workers who had stopped trains running as part of the civil disobedience movement. One person was wounded, residents said.

Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the Southeast Asian country on Wednesday in some of the biggest protests yet against the Feb. 1 coup and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The street marches have been more peaceful than bloodily suppressed demonstrations in a previous half century of army rule, but they and the civil disobedience movement have had a crippling effect on much official business.

The army announced late on Wednesday that six local celebrities, including film directors, actors and a singer, were wanted under an anti-incitement law for encouraging civil servants to join in the protest.

The charges can carry a two-year prison sentence.

Some of those on the list were defiant.

"It's amazing to see the unity of our people. People's power must return to the people," actor Lu Min posted on his Facebook page.

Despite junta appeals for civil servants to return to work and threats of actions if they do not, there has been no sign of the strikes easing.

Train services have been badly disrupted and after dark, security forces in the second biggest city of Manadalay confronted striking railway workers, opening fire with rubber bullets and catapults and throwing stones, residents said.

One charity worker was wounded in the leg by a rubber bullet.

Neither the army nor the police made any immediate comment on the incident, but the army's Facebook page said forces were providing security across the country to "make sure people have tranquillity and sound sleep".