At least one person killed in crackdown on Mandalay protest

Regime forces shot three people, killing at least one, during a crackdown on an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay on Tuesday, according to protesters who managed to escape.

Around 20 people were taking part in a flash mob protest near the east gate of Mandalay’s famous Mahamuni pagoda when they suddenly came under attack at around noon, witnesses told Myanmar Now.

Without warning, junta forces in plain clothes opened fire with live ammunition, shooting two men and a woman as they attempted to flee.

One of the victims, 25-year-old Thu Thu Zin, was shot in the head and died instantly. It was unclear if the two men, one of whom was shot in the neck, were still alive.

“The girl [Thu Thu Zin] fell down right before my eyes. I couldn’t save her, as I was running for my life, too,” said a protester who later returned to the scene to speak to other witnesses.

“According to some vendors in front of the pagoda who saw everything, it’s very likely that all three were fatally shot. They were dragged into the pagoda compound right after they fell,” the protester told Myanmar Now.

He added that police later confirmed Thu Thu Zin’s death.

The protesters were members of the Mya Taung protest column, which continues to stage peaceful demonstrations against the regime despite its routine use of lethal force.

The group’s protests are regularly joined by a wide cross-section of local people, including student activists, monks, and ordinary citizens.

Members of the group condemned the junta’s brutal violence against unarmed protesters.

“If they just wanted to break up the crowd, they could have done that by shooting into the air,” said one protester. “I hope that karma will catch up with them one day.”

He added that the military’s latest atrocity against civilians would have no impact on the group’s activities.

“We’re going to keep going until the end,” he said.

Tuesday’s crackdown was the third in Mandalay so far this month. On July 13, seven protesters were arrested when the regime broke up a joint march by the Mya Taung protest column and students from Mandalar University.

On July 20, two men were shot and a woman was arrested during a crackdown on a protest by a group called “Phoenixes from the Ashes”.

According to Mandalay residents, the army has stationed troops at public places, such as schools, hospitals, and pagodas, around the city to deter shows of resistance to military rule.

However, protests continue on a regular basis, even as the regime deploys plainclothes forces to launch surprise attacks, in some cases by plowing into crowds with civilian vehicles.

Meanwhile, surveillance has also increased, with pedestrians and cyclists being ordered at military checkpoints to show their phones, which are carefully scrutinized for evidence of involvement in anti-military activities.

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