Junta troops open fire on fleeing protesters at Yangon’s Asia Royal Hospital

The military junta’s armed forces entered the Asia Royal Hospital in Yangon’s Sanchaung township on Sunday afternoon, opening fire with rubber bullets on the premises and injuring one staff member. 

Troops began shooting at protesters in the area at around 1:00pm. As protesters fled the crackdown and some sought refuge in the hospital, the soldiers and police chased them, continuing the gunfire. 

A staff member who was leaving Asia Royal at the same time as the attack was shot in the leg with a rubber bullet, according to a family member of a hospital patient who also witnessed the incident.

“The kids ran towards the emergency exit of the hospital. The staff member who was about to return home after his shift was shot. They thought the staff was a protester,” he told Myanmar Now.

The shooting took place near the hospital’s outpatient treatment centre for patients suffering from heart-related issues. The patients– who, because of their conditions must avoid acute shock or stress– were relocated by hospital staff.  

“The sound of the shooting was very loud. My wife, who has heart disease, was very shocked and frightened. All of the patients were very scared,” the eyewitness said. 

Three policemen occupied the ground floor of the hospital, while soldiers surrounded the hospital from the outside for at least 30 minutes.

Sunday’s breach of hospital grounds by armed forces is not the first in the junta’s ongoing crackdown against anti-dictatorship protesters. At Ahlone township’s Academy Hospital, also in Yangon, the junta’s armed forces searched patients’ rooms on the night of March 18, according to locals near the hospital.

Prior to that but also on March 18, shots were fired at windows of the women’s centre in the Shwegondaing Specialist Centre in Yangon’s Bahan township. 

Soldiers and police have also set up bases inside public hospitals and schools in several cities and towns throughout Myanmar. 

Among those arrested by the junta’s armed forces have been social and rescue workers, medics, and doctors participating in the Civil Disobedience Movement by helping civilians injured in the regime’s attacks. 

Since Myanmar’s military coup on February 1, 413 civilians have been killed and more than 2,400 civilians have been arrested in public crackdowns, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, an advocacy organisation which is closely following the crisis. 

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