Myanmar Security Forces Open Fire on Protestors, Killing At Least Nine

MYANMAR – Citing witnesses and local reports, the media outlet Reuters says that at least nine people are dead after Myanmar’s security forces opened fire on demonstrators. This happened on Wednesday as protests continue across the country over last month’s military coup.

Wednesday’s fatalities were not in one particular location, but rather scattered in towns and cities in the nation that is now under military control. At least 31 demonstrators have been killed since February 1st as authorities crackdown on the demonstrations against the coup.

The town of Monywa appeared to have the highest death toll, which stands at 5 according to Ko Thit Sar, the editor of the Monywa Gazette, saying, “We’ve confirmed with family members and doctors, five people have been killed.” He added, “At least 30 people are wounded, some still unconscious.”

Myanmar’s second-biggest city, Mandalay, had two fatalities according to witnesses. In Myingyan, a teenaged boy was killed after police followed tear gas and stun grenades with live gunfire. Another demonstrator was fatally shot in Yangon, where nearly 300 protesters were arrested.

The coup was carried out by the Myanmar military which took the former leader Aung San Suu Kyi into custody and declaring a state of emergency for a year. Suu Kyi’s part had landslide wins in the 2020 election, which the military claimed was due to election fraud, a claim dismissed by the country’s election commission. Suu Kyi has been seen publicly only once, during a court hearing this week as the military continues to add various crimes to her charges.

The United Kingdom has requested that the United Nations Security Council hold a closed meeting, which is set for Friday, according to diplomats with the council. The regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations urged Myanmar officials to practice restraint in their actions, but the countries did not reach an agreement to request the release of Suu Kyi.

Here in the United States, the First Amendment grants us several rights.  We have the right to gather peacefully, although in many cities it requires that a permit be obtained in advance of the gathering.  We have the right to protest peacefully, whether it be standing in one location or walking on a planned route.  We have the right of freedom of speech, which allows us to write, speak, and carry signs expressing our thoughts, values, and positions.

Of course, Myanmar is now under military control and a year-long state of emergency. Unlike Americans, they have no protection, no guarantee of safety, and no right to protest what so many are standing up against. Still, tens of thousands of it’s citizens are risking their lives to make their voices heard.

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