Myanmar Protester Shot in Head Dies, First Death Since Coup
People run from police during a protest outside the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photographer: Andre Malerba/Bloomberg)

Myanmar Protester Shot in Head Dies, First Death Since Coup

A 20-year-old student struck by a bullet last week in the Myanmar capital of Naypyidaw while protesting against the military coup has passed away, according to a friend of the family, marking the first casualty since nationwide demonstrations began.

Mya Thwe Thwe Khine was one of two people left in critical condition on Feb. 9 after Myanmar’s police fired gunshots, tear gas and water cannons to quell demonstrations throughout the country, leaving at least 20 protesters injured. Human Rights Watch cited a doctor saying a metal bullet had penetrated the back of her right ear and was lodged in her head. Chaw Wint Naing, who is close to her family, confirmed news reports of her death.

“The police in Naypyitaw have blood on their hands and they must be held accountable for the death of Mya Thwe Thwe Khine,” Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement. “The officer who pulled the trigger must be investigated, arrested, and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

The fatality comes as the number of protesters throughout Myanmar has swelled into the hundreds of thousands since the military seized control of the country on Feb. 1. The youth-led movement has mobilized supporters peacefully in major cities with three main demands: the release of civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, recognition of the 2020 election results won by her party and a withdrawal of the military from politics.

Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has denounced the police actions against demonstrators, while President Joe Biden announced sanctions against military leaders linked to the coup and blocked them from accessing about $1 billion in government funds held in the U.S.

The coup leaders have tightened their grip on power, ordering an internet blackout on recent nights and making it easier for authorities to make arrests as it looks to enforce a ban on public gatherings ignored by protesters.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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