Myanmar Coup: Woman ‘Shot’ At Protest Fights For Life
A woman who was severely injured while protesting against Myanmar’s military coup is in a critical condition.
She was hurt at a protest on Tuesday in the capital city of Nay Pyi Taw, which saw police trying to disperse protesters using water cannon, rubber bullets and live rounds.
Rights groups and news outlets say the woman was shot in the head.
There have been reports of serious injuries as police have increased their use of force, but no casualties so far.
Tens of thousands have turned out in street protests against the coup, which overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government last week, despite a recent ban on large gatherings and a night curfew.
Demonstrations re-started on Wednesday morning, for a fifth consecutive day, with a large group of civil servants gathering in Nay Pyi Taw to protest.
Video of shooting
On Tuesday, police had used water cannon in Nay Pyi Taw against protesters, who refused to retreat.
Warning shots were reportedly fired into the air before rubber bullets were fired at the crowd – but doctors later said it appeared live ammunition had hit protesters.
According to BBC Burmese, who spoke to an unnamed medical officer from a Nay Pyi Taw hospital, one woman suffered a serious head injury and another demonstrator had chest injuries. The woman is now in intensive care.
According to a report by Human Rights Watch, a doctor from the hospital said the woman had a “projectile lodged in her head and had lost significant brain function”.
The unidentified doctor said the woman’s wound was consistent with that of live ammunition, and that a metal bullet had penetrated the back of her right ear. A man wounded at the same protest also appeared to have similar injuries.
A separate report by Fortify Rights quoted a doctor who said the woman was brain dead from an “imminently fatal gunshot wound to the head”.
Earlier, a clip purportedly showing a woman being shot had been circulating online. The footage shows the woman wearing a motorbike helmet collapsing abruptly. Separately, pictures on social media showed what appeared to be a blood-stained helmet. The BBC has not verified this.
The United Nations has voiced “strong concern” over Tuesday’s violence.
“The use of disproportionate force against demonstrators is unacceptable,” said Ola Almgren, the UN resident co-ordinator in Myanmar.
Previous protests against the country’s decades-long military rule, in 1988 and 2007, saw large numbers of demonstrators killed.
Late on Tuesday, Myanmar’s military also raided the NLD party headquarters in Yangon, said the party.
BBC Burmese understands that security forces broke down the doors by force. No party members were present in the building at the time. Footage of the headquarters filmed by AFP showed damaged computer servers and ransacked cupboards.
The raid took place during a nationwide night time curfew, which lasts from 20:00 to 04:00 local time (13:30 to 21:30 GMT).
What else is happening on Wednesday?
In eastern Kayah state, dozens of police officers appeared to have joined the protesters’ cause and staged their own demonstration.
According to Myanmar Now, they were holding posters that read “We stand with the people” and “We don’t want the dictatorship”.
One protester at the scene told the BBC that as many as 40 officers took part and they were later seen trying to protect the demonstrators from other police.
Another eyewitness said some of the police protesters were later arrested.
Dozens of police men and women joined the anti-coup protests in Kayah State, holding posters that read "We don't want the dictatorship" and "We stand with the people". pic.twitter.com/kkVYyg8Szn
Meanwhile, large crowds continued to gather in various cities, including Yangon and Nay Pyi Taw.
Several groups of young people staged colourful protests wearing ball gowns and sitting in inflatable tubs.
Why are people protesting?
The military seized control on 1 February following a general election which Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.
The armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a rerun of the vote, claiming widespread fraud.
The election commission said there was no evidence to support these claims.
The coup was staged as a new session of parliament was set to open.
Ms Suu Kyi is under house arrest and has been charged with possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies. Many other NLD officials have also been detained.