Four young people are dead, dozens are injured and around 15 have been placed under junta interrogation after a military truck sped into a flash mob protest in Yangon’s Kyeemyindaing township at 8 a.m. on Sunday morning.
Shortly after the sickening incident in the heart of Burma’s largest city, witnesses say that soldiers and police fired into the fleeing crowd, causing further death and injury as video and photo evidence showed bodies lying in the road and under the wheels of the offending vehicle.
As images hit social media, citizens and activists once again called on ASEAN and the UN to intervene.
According to one man—who managed to escape unharmed—security forces purposefully sped into the crowd after spotting the protest whilst on a routine patrol, and not, as state media had suggested, after being tipped off by an informer.
“A group of about 70 people were walking along Pan Pin Gyi Road when they were hit by a speeding patrol truck. We only had about five seconds to run, so some were hit. In the chaos, I ran into a different car which drove off,” the man told DVB.
He said that he resisted a soldier after being beaten with a rifle and fled the scene. As he ran, the soldier fired three shots, mercifully missing with each attempt.
“While the soldier fired, I dropped down to miss his shots. If I hadn’t, I would’ve been shot in the head. I was wounded because I was hit by a car and knocked over.”
He added that he recieved a threatening phone call after evading capture, but is now safe in hiding. Most involved in the protests were youths under the age of 25 who had been flanked by supportive members of the local community.
The man told DVB that some of those reporting the protest, including two Myanmar Pressphoto Agency staff, were amongst 15 people arrested at the scene. Later reports suggest that a 19-year-old female volunteer medic from the International Red Cross was also detained after stopping to help the injured.
“After we had started marching and chanting along the road, locals came out and applauded. Therefore, there were a lot of records taken of the event,” he said.
Of the two Myanmar Pressphoto Agency photojournalists, Kaung Sett Lin was taken into interrogation after sustaining injuries in the attack, whilst graphics photos showed that Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun was seriously injured. She is believed to have been taken to Yangon’s No.2 Military Hospital. Her sister has said on social media that the attack has caused severe brain damage, and that doctors have given her only a 10% chance of survival.
A friend of the family this morning said that Hmu Yadanar Khet Moh Moh Tun’s parents have been blocked from seeing their daughter, and have learned of her condition after talking with the doctor treating her.
“She has not passed away yet. Her head is sewn up. A CT scan will be performed soon. The condition is treated but she has not regained consciousness yet,” one recent post said.
The violence of the morning did nothing to deter further protests occurring into Sunday afternoon. A thunderous banging of pots and pans returned to the city at night in protest of the killings, which a number of international critics, including former UN Special Rapporteur to Burma, Yanghee Lee, compared to the work of terrorists.
The latest sickening act by the junta in ten months of massacres, Burma’s parallel National Unity Government released a statement asking what further evidence the international community needed to take action against the SAC.
“How much more proof will it take to convince the international community that the junta is not a legitimate government?” asked NUG spokesperson Dr. Sasa on social media. “The military does not serve or protect people — they murder them without a second thought.”
International media outlets the world over reported on the junta’s latest disturbing crime against humanity.
This morning, the state owned Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper published an afterthought of an article which acknowledged the incident yet called the murdered part of “an unlawful riot” who had been “dispersed”. The junta mentioned neither the hit and run nor the killings.