JURIST EXCLUSIVE – More than 24 people were reported killed in Myanmar Sunday when police cracked down on large demonstrations in multiple cities against the Myanmar military junta that seized power in the country on February 1. Multiple individuals died by live-fire rounds, according to local media and witnesses. Police and protesters engaged in a violent standoff in Yangon before being dispersed with flash-bangs and tear gas. Mass protests by groups of teachers, doctors and medical students were run down by riot police, with many participants arrested. Law students marching in Mandalay reported that a peaceful demonstration there was broken up, forcing protestors to seek shelter in nearby houses opened to them by residents.
The death toll Sunday was the largest on any day so far in Myanmar since the military takeover began. The US Embassy in Burma, the UN Myanmar mission, and other representatives of the international community quickly decried and condemned the violence. The US Embassy in Yangon tweeted: “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.”
A law student correspondent for JURIST in Myanmar wrote late Sunday local time:
Today is the worst. Will there be worse day … ? They’ve gone crazy. We’re in their hands. Live or dead. They will decide this. We don’t own our life anymore.
24 lives … It’s too much. Dead people are dead. Alive people are in prison. Everyone is in sorrow. Every bullet hole feels like a thousand knives in my heart.
Another who was in the street in Mandalay earlier in the day wrote:
[It was an] honor to be part of this, but so painful and miserable for our heroes who can not go back to their home today.