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Myanmar Coup: Thousands March in Protest After Funeral of 2 Killed in Deadly Shootings

Earlier today, the Myanmar police arrested famous Burmese actor Lu Min, who was ‘wanted’ under anti-incitement law for supporting the opposition and encouraging civil servants to join the protest.

Published: February 21, 2021 5:13 PM IST

By News Desk | Edited by Sharmita Kar

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Police security man a roadblock in Myanmar. (Photo Courtesy: AP)

Yangon: Massive protests erupted on Sunday as protesters gathered again this morning all over Myanmar, a day after security forces shot dead two people in the country’s second-biggest city Yangon. A funeral was also held for a young woman killed earlier by police. Earlier today, the Myanmar police arrested famous Burmese actor Lu Min, who was ‘wanted’ under anti-incitement law for supporting the opposition and encouraging civil servants to join the protest.

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A live broadcast on Facebook showed the wife of actor Lu Min describing to neighbours how her husband was arrested and taken away from their home shortly after midnight. He was one of six high-profile people in the entertainment industry charged last week with inciting civil servants to stop work and join the protest movement.

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Hundreds of thousands took the streets to protest against the February 1 military coup that toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, while Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was the first confirmed death. The woman was shot on February 9, just two days before her 20th birthday, at a protest in the capital Naypyidaw, and died Friday.

About 1,000 people in cars and bikes gathered Sunday morning at the hospital where her body was held amid tight security, with even the victim’s grandparents who had traveled from Yangon, five hours away, denied entry. When her body was released, a long motorised procession began a drive to the cemetery.

In Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, about 1,000 demonstrators honoured the woman under an elevated roadway.

Another large protest took place in Mandalay, where police shot dead two people on Saturday near a dockyard as security forces were trying to force workers to load a boat. The workers, like railway workers and truckers and many civil servants, have been taking part in a civil disobedience campaign against the junta.

Shooting broke out after neighbourhood residents rushed to the Yadanabon dock to try to assist the workers in their resistance. One of the victims, described as a teenage boy, was shot in the head and died immediately, while another was shot in the chest and died en route to a hospital.

Several other serious injuries were also reported. Witness accounts and photos of bullet casings indicated that the security forces used live ammunition, in addition to rubber bullets, water cannons, and slingshots.

The new deaths drew a quick and strong reaction from the international community.

“The shooting of peaceful protesters is beyond the pale,” said British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Twitter. “We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy and choking dissent.” Britain last week froze assets of and imposed travel bans on three top Myanmar generals, adding to already existing targeted sanctions.

Singapore, which together with Myanmar is part of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, issued a statement condemning the use of lethal force as inexcusable. Urging utmost restraint on the part of security forces, it warned that if the situation continues to escalate, there will be serious adverse consequences for Myanmar and the region.

On Sunday, Facebook announced it took down the page run by the Myanmar military information unit for repeated violations of our community standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm. It had already taken down other accounts linked to the military.

With Agency inputs

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Published Date: February 21, 2021 5:13 PM IST