Anti-coup protesters in Myanmar’s two largest cities on Saturday paid tribute to the young woman who died a day earlier after being shot at by police during a rally against the military takeover.
An impromptu memorial created under an elevated roadway in Yangon attracted around 1,000 protesters. A wreath of bright yellow flowers was hung beneath a photograph of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, who was shot at in the capital Naypyitaw on February 9, two days before her 20th birthday, media sources said.
Her death on Friday, announced by her family, was the first confirmed fatality among thousands of protesters who have faced off against security forces since the military took power on February 1.
Protesters at the memorial chanted and held up signs that read “End the dictatorship in Myanmar” and “You will be remembered Mya Thwet Thwet Khine.” The supporters also laid roses and rose petals on images of the woman.
Video from the day she was shot at show her sheltering from water cannons and suddenly dropping to the ground after a bullet penetrated the helmet she was wearing. She had been on life support in a hospital for more than a week with what doctors said was no chance of recovery.
US State Department spokesman Ned Price offered his government’s condolences on Friday and reiterated calls on the military to refrain from violence against peaceful protesters.
In Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city, a protest led by medical university students drew more than 1,000 people, many of whom also carried flowers and images of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine.
Others held placards saying “CDM”, referring to the nationwide civil disobedience movement that has encouraged doctors, engineers and others to protest the coup by refusing to work.