Myanmar: Pro-democracy protesters were met with tear has, stun grenades and gun firesEvent
- Initial Date
- Feb 28, 2021
- Event Description
At least 18 were killed and dozens injured and arrested on Sunday as Min Aung Hlaing’s regime intensified a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests across the country, marking the deadliest day since the start of the uprising against the February 1 coup.
Even after days of steadily escalating attacks by police and soldiers, protesters in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Bago and other cities took to the streets in their tens of thousands.
The demonstrators, many of whom were in their 20s and 30s, have braved gunfire, stun grenades, water cannon and vicious beatings in recent weeks.
Myanmar Now has independently confirmed at least 10 of Sunday’s deaths but Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office, said in a statement that at least 18 had been killed so far.
“Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku,” the statement said. Thousands poured into the streets even as the junta intensified its deadly attacks against protesters. (Myanmar Now)
Thousands rallied at Yangon’s Hledan junction on Sunday morning around 9am, with frontline protesters wearing goggles and gas masks. Within minutes police began attacking the crowd with stun grenades, and then began shooting their guns.
At least two protesters were killed in the morning in the area, which has been a major rallying point during three weeks of daily demonstrations.
Three Myanmar Now reporters witnessed one of the killings while sheltering in a building across the street.
They saw a young man get shot in the chest and fall to the ground, where he lay in a pool of blood until he was carried away by other protesters. He passed away at a nearby hospital.
He has been identified as 23-year-old Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing. The man’s blood-stained shirt had the words "Spring Revolution" printed on it, a reference to the Arab Spring and a name that many protesters have given to this month’s uprising.
Protesters in Yangon erect barricades to protect themselves against attacks by police and soldiers (Myanmar Now)
Another young man named Zin Lin Htet died from a gunshot wound during the attack at Hledan.
In Yangon’s Kyimyindaing neighbourhood, security forces broke up a protest led by school teachers and shot a female middle-school teacher dead.
Myo Thu, one of the teachers who joined the protest, told Myanmar Now security forces threw tear gas and shot live ammunition as the teachers were preparing to march.
“We were in front of the education office from 8am and people were still gathering to start marching,” he said. “We hadn’t even done anything yet, but they just came at us and did the crackdown.”
A protester was beaten up and detained by police on Bargayar Road in Sanchaung township in Yangon on February 28. (Myanmar Now)
The middle school teacher was shot in her elbow and lost consciousness, her friends said.
“She had heart disease,” Myo Thu said. “She fainted after getting shot. An emergency team in the area helped us bring her to a place where she could receive treatment. But she died on the way.”
Her body was taken to the morgue at the Yangon General Hospital, he added.
Another death and five other injuries were reported in Thingangyun, but Myanmar Now was unable to confirm further details.
Security forces opened fire on the protesters on Bargayar Road in Sanchaung township on February 28.
Even as attacks against protesters intensified, thousands remained in the streets and regrouped wherever they were able to. Some blocked off roads with makeshift barricades.
Footage broadcast by Mizzima TV showed one man who appeared to have been shot in the leg flashing a three-finger salute as he was carried away by medics on a stretcher.
The Yangon General Hospital emergency department, which had been closed for weeks amid a nationwide general strike aimed at crippling the junta, was back in operation “out of necessity” on Sunday, a doctor said.
A man seen at a hospital in Mandalay after being shot in the head. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards
Medics, who have been at the forefront of mass work stoppages, made a collective decision to reopen the hospital to treat Sunday’s wounded while continuing to disobey any orders from the military regime.
In the southern city of Dawei, three male protesters were killed during numerous attacks by police. One was shot in his lower right ribs, Dawei Watch reported.
Video footage showed security forces repeatedly shooting at protesters who were off screen.
At least 12 were injured by gunfire and admitted to different clinics and hospitals in the city, said Pyae Zaw Hein, an emergency worker there.
“At certain points we were trapped amid the crackdowns,” he told Myanmar Now. “It was terrible.”
A woman with blood pooling around her head is seen lying dead on a street in Mandalay
Residents detain police
In Mandalay, at least three were killed, including two who were shot in the head. At least 10 others were shot by security forces and injured.
About 1,000 healthcare workers were preparing for a march inside a hospital in the city in the morning when they were trapped inside by security forces.
Residents who came to support the healthcare workers were attacked with tear gas. Doctors managed to escape from the hospital later in the afternoon.
At one point in the afternoon, residents detained five police officers who were riding in an unmarked car that was loaded with ammunition. Soldiers later showed up and took the officers away.
A man was injured after security forces shot protesters in the town of Dawei in southern Myanmar. (Myanmar Now)
No deaths have been confirmed so far in the capital Naypyitaw despite a heavy presence of police and soldiers and at least four arrests.
Those arrested on Sunday included at least six journalists. Shin Moe Myint, a 23-year-old freelance photojournalist, was beaten by several police officers before being taken away.
A reporter from the Myay Latt Voice news outlet in Pyay was injured by rubber bullets before being arrested.
At least seven journalists, including Myanmar Now’s multimedia reporter Kay Zon Nway, were arrested across the country on Saturday.
Two of them were briefly detained and later released. Another reporter from 7Day went missing on Saturday afternoon and it was later reported they had been arrested.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- Other (e.g. undefined, organisation, community)
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Use of Excessive Force
- Violence (physical)
- Wounds and Injuries
- Rights Concerned
- Freedom of assembly
- Right to healthy and safe environment
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to Protest
- Media Worker
- Pro-democracy defender
- Armed forces/ Military
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On February 28, 2021, pro-democracy protesters were faced with water canon, bullets, tear gas by the police, resulting in at least 18 people loosing their lives in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Bago and other cities in Myanmar