Feb 20, 2021 - World

Reports: 2 protesters fatally shot, several injured by Myanmar police

Picture of a protester injured by police in a protest in Myanmar

Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Myanmar police officers on Saturday opened fire against protesters, killing at least two people and injuring at least 40 others, The New York Times reports.

The state of play: Hundreds of shipyard workers have walked off their jobs since the Feb. 1 military coup. A group of over 1,000 gathered in the city of Mandalay to protest the overthrow of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and demand an end to military rule.

  • Witnesses claimed that demonstrators were injured by water cannons, rubber bullets, tear gas, slingshots and live fire coming from the police.
  • One man died from a head wound and another was shot in the chest, according to witnesses cited by Reuters.

The big picture: Protests have been ongoing for the past two weeks. "Opponents of the coup are sceptical of the army’s promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner," Reuters writes.

  • Saturday's violence comes one day after the death of Mya Thwe Thwe Khine, a woman whom police shot in the head during a protest in Naypyidaw on Feb. 9.
  • She is believed to the first first person killed during protests against the coup, BBC News notes.

The U.S. condemned the shooting, saying that "no one should be harmed for exercising the right to dissent."

  • "We are deeply troubled by the fatal shooting of protestors in Mandalay, a day after the death of Mya Thwe Thwe Khine in Nay Pyi Taw," the statement from the U.S. Embassy in Burma reads.
  • "The military must stop violence against the people of Myanmar."
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