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 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.

On Tuesday, police 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 used. 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, the woman suffered a serious head injury and another demonstrator had chest injuries. She 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 circulated 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 the authenticity of the images.

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 by the security forces. At least 3,000 protesters died in 1988 and at least 30 people lost their lives in 2007. Thousands were imprisoned in both.

Late on Tuesday, Myanmar’s military also raided Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party headquarters in the country’s largest city, Yangon, the party said.

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 the AFP news agency showed damaged computer servers and ransacked cupboards.

The raid took place during a nationwide night curfew, which lasts from 20:00 to 04:00 (13:30 to 21:30 GMT).

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