Myanmar has witnessed its bloodiest and deadliest day yet since the start of the Feb.1st coup which saw the military arrest the country's democratically elected civilian leadership, citing a "fraudulent election".
Eighteen have been reported killed Sunday in clashes with police and armed troops, which have over the past week increasingly resorted to 'live fire' to disperse 'banned' demonstrations. "Myanmar police fired on protesters around the country on Sunday in the bloodiest day of weeks of demonstrations against a military coup and at least 18 people were killed, the U.N. human rights office said," according to Reuters.
Over the past two weeks anti-coup protests have grown increasingly large and visible despite the large army presence - including armored vehicles and armed troops on city streets - and despite a near month-long communications and internet lockdown of the country.
The United Nations human rights office in a statement condemned the use of lethal force, saying, "Police and military forces have confronted peaceful demonstrations, using lethal force and less-than-lethal force that – according to credible information received by the UN Human Rights Office – has left at least 18 people dead and over 30 wounded."
Rubber bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades have also been used to quell protests, but over the last week social media videos that made it past the junta's attempts to impose a firewall on the country have increasingly appeared to show live ammo being used, with victims suffering gunshot wounds to the chest, head, and legs.
The footage revealed police cannot shoot the gun properly and a soldier was guiding him and others were happy to do so. It was uploaded by Dawei,Southern Myanmar local news page and says 4 were murdered in the protest#WhatsHappeningInMyanmar#OpCCP #MilkTeaAlliance #Feb28Coup pic.twitter.com/FvyAV7JuWG— Waiyan Htut (@WaiYanHtut) February 28, 2021
Reuters documented some of the deaths Sunday as follows:
Among at least five killed in Yangon was internet network engineer Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing, who a day earlier had posted on Facebook about his concern at the growing crackdown, medics said.
Teacher Tin New Yee died after police swooped to disperse a teachers’ protest with stun grenades, sending the crowd fleeing, her daughter and a fellow teacher said.
At least 9 people died in Myanmar as the military government cracked down on protests on Sunday.— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) February 28, 2021
4 protesters were killed in the city of Dawei, where this video was captured, according to military-run television station Myawady https://t.co/NXZhbcMJ1j pic.twitter.com/MucqWUDBNT
The US embassy in the country has also condemned the crackdown, saying in a statement: “We are heartbroken to see the loss of so many lives in Myanmar. People should not face violence for expressing dissent against the military coup. Targeting of civilians is abhorrent."
Myanmar riot police charge against protesters as they try to stop more than three weeks of daily protests against the army’s coup. One woman was killed today. @Reuters video #WhatsHappeningInMyanmar pic.twitter.com/4Lt38xSBgF— Matthew Tostevin (@TostevinM) February 27, 2021
Already the Biden administration has slapped sanctions on Burmese military leaders believed involved in orchestrating the coup, with Secretary of State Antony Blinken vowing more "firm action" to come against military authorities in recent statements.