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A young woman protesting the military coup in Myanmar was shot in the back of the head by police, leaving her with significant brain damage, harrowing video shows.
The footage — recorded Tuesday at a protest in the southeast Asian nation’s capital, Naypyitaw — shows a female protester in a red shirt and a motorcycle helmet being sprayed with water by police as demonstrators hurled rocks at the cops.
The protest then takes a more violent turn when several apparent gunshots ring out — and the woman is seen crumbling to the ground. Another protester then comes to her aid, the disturbing clip shows.
A doctor at a hospital in Naypyidaw told Human Rights Watch that the woman — identified by the New York-based organization as 20-year-old Mya Thwe Thwe Khine — has a bullet lodged in her head and has lost significant brain function. She was listed in critical condition, the doctor said late Tuesday.
“Myanmar police shooting at a woman demonstrator whose back was turned is unconscionable as well as unlawful,” an HRW crisis and conflict researcher, Richard Weir, said in a statement.
“The police need to stop responding to peaceful protests by firing off guns and immediately investigate alleged wrongful use of force. Myanmar’s military junta should rescind its draconian orders on protests and end its crackdown.”
A second victim, Soe Way, 20, was also wounded at the same protest and his injuries also appear to be from live ammunition. Way was listed in stable condition, HRW officials said late Tuesday.
Throngs of protesters continued to defy Myanmar’s ban on protests Wednesday, including demonstrators who held signs reading “Stop Killing People,” video shows.
“It was such a sad incident as the people’s police shot an innocent girl instead of protecting her,” one student, Swan Htet Aung, told Reuters. “Now, we, Generation Z, are facing the threat of bullets coming our way. It’s becoming a deadly threat to us, which raises doubts about our future.”
Another demonstrator in Yangon said Tuesday’s shooting equates to a “severe threat” to the country’s younger generations.
“That’s why I’m coming out to the streets for her support,” Zaw Htet said.
Tuesday marked the most violent day of protests since the Feb. 1 military takeover and the ousting of Myanmar’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The military has said it detained Suu Kyi and other governing party members due to irregularities in November election, which her National League for Democracy party won in a landslide. An election commission has denied the allegation.
“Myanmar’s military has shown time and again that it is willing to resort to large-scale violence to quash dissent and remain in power,” Weir continued.
“UN member states urgently need to speak with one voice to warn the generals to end the use of lethal force and respect the right to peaceful protest, or face serious consequences.”
With Post Wires
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