“Don’t shoot my pupils. Don’t beat them with bars. Don’t cuff them,” were the last words on social media of Tinnwe Yee, a 59-year-old high school teacher. She was attending a peaceful sit-in in western Yangon’s Kyimyindaing Township, where she died of a heart attack shortly after being shot in the arms by security forces.
Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing, a 23-year-old network engineer who worked for ISP Frontiir, was shot in his lower abdomen while trying to flee a crackdown in the Hledan ward.
Promoting the hashtag “#How_Many_Dead_Bodies_UN_Need_To_Take_Action?” was the last thing he wrote online.
Two days after police and soldiers opened fire on civilian protesters; killing Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing, Tinnwe Yee and at least 16 others; police opened fire again in Yangon on Tuesday, and the body count has climbed to at least 23 since Sunday after five more were reported dead in Mandalay, Naypyidaw, Myeik and Yangon.
At least 25 people have been killed protesting last month’s coup d’etat, and more than 1,000 have been arrested.
People vowed to carry on with a 9am rally in downtown Yangon’s Sanchaung Township, where protesters vowed to be prepared for junta violence as a strong military presence was reported there. Police in the Hledan area started shooting into the streets at pedestrians from atop a flyover. There were reports of several injuries.
Last night, DVB Burmese News reported that one of its correspondents in the Meyik region was shot when police and military raided his apartment to arrest him. He survived.
People have been encouraged by reported defections of police officers, such as four officers in Naypyidaw who reportedly switched sides to join the ongoing civil disobedience movement.
On Monday, protesters came out undeterred and played cat and mouse with the junta’s security forces throughout the day, vanishing into buildings when they moved forward and returning when they retreated, a tactic inspired by Hong Kongers.
Cries of “We do not need dictators,” “Return the people’s power,” and “Protest, strike,” are widely heard.
Also seen are pictures of coup-making supreme army commander Min Aung Hlaing with his face crossed out and taped onto the road, where soldiers gingerly removed them without stepping on his face. “It buys us some time,” said one demonstrator among the frontliners Monday in Sanchaung who refused to give his name.
“It looks like a battlefield now,” he added.
Htoo Char Aung, a 22-year-old demonstrator and Sanchaung resident described what he saw Monday when police cracked down there.
“One of my friends was beaten by six policemen and dragged away in front of my eyes. I couldn’t do anything, since the others started running, except throw a can of Coca-Cola at them.”
A bulldozer was seen destroying barricades that the protesters had put up to block riot police, who charged firing tear gas, crowd-control grenades and rubber bullets.
A 30-year-old woman from Insein Township arrested Friday told Coconuts how she was held two nights over the weekend at Insein Prison.
The woman, who declined to give her name because it was already on a police list, said she was at a protest near the Kyun Taw Monastery protest in Sanchaung when she was apprehended.
“I hid my phone before entering the transport vehicle and posted on my Facebook that I was arrested, so my folks would see it,” she said. “Upon arrival, men were sent directly into the cells and women were detained in a lecture room next door. Then the policewomen searched us again, and my phone was taken away.”
She said they were not allowed to go to a makeshift bathroom except when directed by the guards.
“We were also interrogated by soldiers the next day,” she added, noting that no force was used against them. “They took photographs of us from the front and both sides, like you see in the movies.”
Just before they were released on Sunday night, they were assembled at the gate and told that they would be charged with crimes next time that would see them jailed three years.
“We need to avoid them next time we protest. It’s not worth going to jail for just protesting,” she said.
State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint have not been seen publicly since their Feb. 1 arrest. On Monday, new charges of disrupting public order were filed against both, with a hearing set for March 15.
A representative of her party, the National League for Democracy, said that its MP representing Naypyidaw’s Ottara Thiri Township, Kyaw Min Hlaing, was detained yesterday amid rumors the party would be disbanded all its politicians arrested at the same time.