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Hundreds arrested and woman reportedly shot as police launch brutal crackdown in Myanmar

Verity Bowman
·3-min read
A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police officers during a rally against the military coup in Yangon - REUTERS
A pro-democracy protester is detained by riot police officers during a rally against the military coup in Yangon - REUTERS

A woman was shot and hundreds arrested in Myanmar on Saturday in one of the most extensive crackdowns by the military junta since anti-coup demonstrations began.

Police threw stun grenades, tear gas and used live ammunition, witnesses claimed, as they clashed with crowds in the main city of Yangon.

A sea of demonstrators chanted and threw barricades across the street to block advancing authorities.

In the central town of Monwya one woman was reportedly shot, though the circumstances surrounding the incident and her current condition remain unknown. Four people are now known to have died since the coup on February 1.

Myanmar has been roiled by demonstrations since the army ousted Aung San Suu Kyi, accusing her and the party leadership of fraud in November elections. Uncertainty over her whereabouts is growing.

Street protests have been escalating, prompting a sweeping crackdown on Saturday.

People march along a street in Mandalay, Myanmar - THE NEW YORK TIMES 
People march along a street in Mandalay, Myanmar - THE NEW YORK TIMES
An injured protester receives medical attention after police and military forces cracked down on a protest  - THE NEW YORK TIMES 
An injured protester receives medical attention after police and military forces cracked down on a protest - THE NEW YORK TIMES

"People are protesting peacefully but they're threatening us with weapons," youth activist Shar Yamone said.

"We're fighting to end this military bullying which has been going on for generation after generation."

Hundreds of demonstrators are thought to have been arrested on Saturday, including several journalists.

More than 10 buses were seen entering Insein prison in Yangon, with “about 40 to 50 people in a prison bus”, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said.

"We can definitely say hundreds," the rights group added. “They arrested many people in Monywa too. We are now trying to get the names of the people."

Myanmar's UN Ambassador urged the United Nations to use “any means necessary” to prevent the military takeover on Friday, but was fired by military leaders the next day.

"We need further strongest possible action from the international community to immediately end the military coup ... and to restore the democracy," Kyaw Moe Tun said.

A bruised child being slingshot by soldiers hides in a truck - Alamy Live News
A bruised child being slingshot by soldiers hides in a truck - Alamy Live News
Riot police officers advance on pro-democracy protesters during a rally against the military coup in Yangon - REUTERS
Riot police officers advance on pro-democracy protesters during a rally against the military coup in Yangon - REUTERS

The diplomat raised the three-finger salute of pro-democracy protesters before adding "our cause will prevail” in Burmese.

State television, MRTV, said Kyaw Moe Tun had “betrayed the country” and “abused the power and responsibilities of an ambassador".

UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews said he was overwhelmed by the ambassador's "act of courage", adding on Twitter "It's time for the world to answer that courageous call with action".

Army chief General Min Aung Hlaing gained complete power over Myanmar when he ended the country's fledging democracy.

Leader Suu Kyi has not been publicly seen since she was detained. She now faces two charges for having unregistered walkie-talkies in her residence and breaking coronavirus rules.