Brutal crackdown in Hlaing Tharyar leaves at least 18 dead

At least 18 people were killed in Yangon’s Hlaing Tharyar township on Sunday as security forces carried out a crackdown on protesters that raged on into the night.

As of 11pm, there were 18 confirmed deaths and dozens of injuries reported by rescue teams and doctors treating victims of the brutal assault on unarmed civilians.

The deadly violence began at around 1pm when junta troops started opening fire on protesters in the township on the western outskirts of Yangon.

By 7:30pm, the township’s main hospital had received 10 dead bodies and 20 injured patients, according to a source at the hospital.

Another four deaths were reported by a doctor who said he also treated eight patients rescued by volunteers while he was on duty.

“Wounded people were sent to me at the rescue site. I gave them medical treatment. There were many injured people,” the doctor told Myanmar Now.

The bodies of three of the four victims were taken to North Okkalapa Township Hospital, said the doctor, who is taking part in the Civil Disobedience Movement against military rule.

The fourth victim, identified as Thurein Lin, died of a bullet wound to the back of his head.

“His body was not sent to the hospital. It was sent back to his home because we were afraid it would be hidden,” said an official working with a volunteer rescue team.

An official from Hlaing Tharyar Township Hospital said that the exact number of dead and injured could not yet be determined, as casualties were still arriving well into the night.

Witnesses said that troops fired on protesters from the Aung Zeya bridge, which connects Hlaing Tharyar and Insein townships, and from a site near Meekhwak Market.

Residents of Hlaing Tharyar confirmed that the shooting was still going on at 7pm.

The junta’s forces were also trying to raid a protest camp in a residential neighbourhood, raising fears of further casualties.

“The security situation is worrying,” a person living near the Aung Zeya bridge told Myanmar Now. “They fired on protesters even in broad daylight, so they may raid protest camps at night.”

Residents of Insein who came to help those trapped in Hlaing Tharyar also came under fire from the Aung Zeya bridge, witnesses said.

A doctor at Yangon General Hospital told Myanmar Now that more than 50 injured people, mostly from Hlaing Tharyar, had been admitted from around 5pm on Sunday. Four of the injured were later pronounced dead.

He said wounded people were still arriving at the hospital at 11pm.

At least three factories in Hlaing Tharyar’s industrial zone were set on fire during the confrontation, but details were not immediately known.

According to a report published by China’s state-run CGTN on Sunday evening, two of the burning factories were owned by Chinese citizens.

Three protesters were also killed in Shwepyithar township, north of Insein, on Sunday. State TV announced on Sunday night that martial law had been imposed in Hlaing Tharyar and Shwepyithar townships.

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