Six people shot with live rounds at Myanmar anti-coup protest

A protester has a wound on her head treated after being beaten by security forces during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay on February 20, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)


MANDALAY, Myanmar (AFP) – A raid on a shipyard in Myanmar’s second-largest city turned violent Saturday when police and soldiers fired live rounds and rubber bullets at protesters gathering to stop arrests.

At least five people were injured by rubber bullets, a photographer at the scene reported, while emergency medical staff treating the injured confirmed at least six others were shot with live rounds.

Much of the country has been in uproar since the military deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators taking to the streets to protest against the junta.

Authorities have arrested hundreds of people since the putsch, many of them civil servants who had been boycotting work as part of a civil disobedience campaign.

On Saturday, hundreds of police and soldiers gathered at Yadanarbon shipyard in Mandalay, on the Irrawaddy river.

Their presence sparked fears among nearby residents that authorities would try to arrest workers for taking part in the anti-coup movement.

Banging pots and pans in what has become a signature gesture of defiance, protesters started yelling at the police to leave.

But police opened fire with live rounds, rubber bullets and slingshot balls, dispersing the alarmed protesters.

“Six men with gunshot wounds arrived to our team. Two are seriously injured,” a medical aide to doctors on the scene told AFP, declining to provide his name for fear of repercussions.

One of the men was hit in the abdomen and remains “in critical condition”, he said.

A wounded man is carried on a stretcher by a medical team after security forces opened fire on protesters during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay on February 20, 2021. (Photo by str / AFP)

“We transferred those who were seriously injured and in a critical condition to another place for intensive care, but we cannot reveal the place.”

A doctor on the scene confirmed that some protesters had been injured by live rounds.

“We do not have enough medicine for them to be treated here,” he said, explaining the transfer.

Around the protest site, empty bullet cartridges were found, as well as slingshot ammunition including metal balls.

Protesters hold out bullet cartridges and ammunition for slingshots after security forces fired on demonstrators at a rally against the military coup in Mandalay on February 20, 2021. (Photo by str / AFP)

One woman received a head wound from a rubber bullet and emergency workers quickly administered first aid to her.

A Facebook video streamed live by a resident on the scene appeared to carry non-stop sounds of gunshots.

“They are shooting cruelly,” said the resident, who appeared to be taking shelter on a nearby construction site.

A medical team treat a wounded man with a bandage on his bleeding head following a demonstration against the military coup where security forces fired on and beat protesters in Mandalay on February 20, 2021. (Photo by STR / AFP)

“We have to find a safer place.”

Since the nationwide protests started two weeks ago, authorities in some cities have deployed tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets against demonstrators.

There have been isolated incidents of live rounds being fired.

An anti-coup protester who was shot in the head during a February 9 demonstration in Naypyidaw died on Friday. Her doctors had confirmed to AFP that her injury was from a live bullet.

This undated handout photo provided by the family on February 19, 20221 shows Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing who died from a gunshot wound after being shot in the head on February 9, during a demonstration against the military coup in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw. – Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing was a teenage grocery store worker in Myanmar’s sparse and isolated capital until less than two weeks ago, when a gunshot turned her into a national symbol of resistance. Hospital confirmed she died on February 19 after going in a state of coma. (Photo by FAMILY HANDOUT / COURTESY OF FAMILY OF MYA THWATE THWATE KHAING / AFP) 

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