Nearly 60 dead in one day in junta’s brutal assault on Yangon

At least 59 people were killed and 129 injured in Sunday’s crackdown by security forces in Yangon’s suburban and industrial townships, according to sources at three area hospitals. 

The junta’s armed personnel used live ammunition against civilians at demonstrations in what is being described as an effort to terrorise the population to submit to and accept military rule. 

An official at a public hospital in Hlaing Tharyar Township told Myanmar Now on Monday morning that 34 people who had been brought to the hospital were pronounced dead, and 40 others had been admitted with gunshot wounds during a brutal weekend assault on unarmed protesters. 

According to a senior official at the Yangon General Hospital, seven of the 56 people brought to the hospital were pronounced dead. 

The casualties were from Hlaing Tharyar, Kyimyindaing and South Dagon townships, he added.

“Three people among the injured are in critical condition. There will be more casualties arriving from Shwepyitha and Hlaing Tharyar,” the official told Myanmar Now. 

Meanwhile, Thingangyun Sanpya Hospital had received around 70 injured people. Medical staff declared 18 dead, according to a doctor who had been participating in the general strike, but stepped in to provide treatment to injured protesters. 

She added that more doctors were needed on different rescue teams to attend to people injured by security forces during crackdowns.

Doctors and rescue workers said the actual death toll may grow as more injured people were sent to other hospitals throughout the city. Some others who were killed at the scene of protests have been immediately returned to their families instead of being brought to local morgues. 

“We brought in four dead bodies of people who lived in South Dagon Township from Thingangyun Sanpya hospital this morning,” a labour rights activist in South Dagon told Myanmar Now on Monday. 

“There were some people who were killed last night, but we can’t retrieve their bodies from the crackdown site. I saw two people had been shot and fell down, one male and one female. We can’t retrieve their bodies. It was already dark, too,” he added.

He said that he witnessed around 24 people getting injured during the security forces’ crackdown in South Dagon and believed the actual number of those wounded was much higher than what could be confirmed at the time of reporting.

A striking doctor treating injured civilians with an emergency team at Hlaing Tharyar’s hospital told Myanmar Now that four men he attempted to help had later died from their injuries. Three were shot in the head with live ammunition, and another in the chest.  

The doctor said that he had transferred three bodies to the morgue at the North Okkalapa General Hospital and sent the fourth body to the respective family’s home. 

Myanmar Now was still awaiting further information from North Okkalapa and Insein hospitals at the time of reporting. 

Three protesters were also killed on Sunday night in Shwepyitha Township, north of Insein. 

At least three factories in Hlaing Tharyar’s industrial zone were set on fire during the confrontation, but further details, including who started the fires, were unavailable. 

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

The weekend’s assault on protesters marks the deadliest crackdown by the junta’s armed forces on public resistance since the military seized power in Myanmar on February 1. 

The regime also imposed martial law in Hlaing Tharyar and Shwepyitha townships on Sunday night, and in South Dagon, North Dagon, Dagon Seikkan and North Okkalapa on Monday morning. 

Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar appealed to the UN member states to cut off supplies of cash and weapons to the Myanmar military.

“Heartbroken/outraged at news of the largest number of protesters murdered by Myanmar security forces in a single day. Junta leaders don’t belong in power, they belong behind bars,” he said on Twitter on Monday morning.

British Ambassador to Myanmar Dan Chugg also called for “an immediate cessation” of violence and for the military regime to hand back power to democratically elected civilian leaders.

“We have seen the violence today in Hlaing Thar Yar Township and in other places across Yangon and Myanmar. The British Government is appalled by the security forces’ use of deadly force against innocent people,” the ambassador said in a statement.

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