At least eight anti-coup protesters were killed in Aungban, southern Shan State, during an attack by the military junta on demonstrations on Friday morning, according to the Aungban Free Funeral Service Society.
Sixteen military trucks carrying more than 100 policemen and soldiers arrived at the protest site at around 9:00 a.m. and began shooting at protesters. Seven died at the scene, and another protester who had been shot in the neck was taken to Kalaw Hospital and died by 11:00 a.m.
All eight victims were men.
The body of the man who died at the hospital was sent to his family’s home, but those who were killed at the protest site were taken away by the junta’s armed forces, a representative of the Free Funeral Service Society told Myanmar Now.
Aungban resident Nay Lynn Tun told Myanmar Now that police and soldiers had destroyed the doors of nearby homes in order to arrest people, and that at least 10 people had been detained.
“Initially, police arrived at the site. When the crowd surrounded the police, armed soldiers arrived at the site and began firing,” he told Myanmar Now. “In the coming days, if we cannot gather to protest, we will do it in our own residential areas.”
Since March 13, around 300 volunteer night guards have watched over these residential areas to protect locals from the dangers posed by the junta’s nighttime raids. These forces use drone cameras to monitor the activities of the night guards from 3:00 a.m. until 5:00 a.m. every day, Nay Lynn Tun said.
He added that hours before Friday’s crackdown, military and police had also used drone cameras to monitor the gathering of protesters in Aungban.
Over the last week, at least 11 protesters have been arrested in Aungban. Only three– the protesters who were minors– were released.
South of Shan State, in the Kayah State capital of Loikaw, two pro-democracy protesters were also shot with live ammunition by the regime’s armed forces on Friday. One, 46-year-old Kyan Aung, was shot in the lower abdomen and died from his injuries. The other wounded protester was a nurse, according to eyewitnesses.
According to a March 18 tally by the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, at least 224 people have been killed across the country by junta’s armed forces since the February 1 coup. Thousands more have been arrested.