Footage has emerged of a Myanmar pro-democracy protester being shot dead at point-blank range amid a bloody crackdown by the military – whose soldiers are issuing threats on TikTok warning that ‘I will shoot whoever I see’.
The video of a civilian being gunned down in the street has been condemned by a UN special envoy, who also decried separate footage of a medical crew being savagely beaten by police as the generals try to stamp out dissent.
The shooting video shows the protester being marched away from a building by riot police before falling to the ground after the gunshot rings out.
After the person briefly raises their head, two of the troops drag them down the street by the arms as security forces take control of the area.
‘A protester was taken away by police and they shot him from very near, maybe only one metre. He didn’t resist his arrest, and it seems that he died on the street,’ said the UN’s Myanmar envoy Christine Schraner Burgener.
More than 50 civilians have been killed since the military’s February 1 coup, including 38 who died on the bloodiest day of clashes on Wednesday.
At least five children have been reportedly killed since the protests began, UNICEF said, with four severely wounded and 500 arbitrarily detained.
Digital rights group Myanmar ICT for Development says it has found more than 800 pro-military videos that threatened protesters with further violence.
One video shows a man in army fatigues aiming an assault rifle at the camera and addressing protesters: ‘I will shoot in your f***ing faces… and I’m using real bullets.’
‘I am going to patrol the whole city tonight and I will shoot whoever I see… If you want to become a martyr, I will fulfil your wish’, he says.
TikTok vowed to ‘promptly remove all content that incites violence or spreads misinformation’ while Facebook has banned all pages linked to Myanmar’s army.
Footage has emerged of a Myanmar pro-democracy protester being shot at point-blank range (left, at the head of the crowd of people) before they are dragged away (right)
A mobile phone shows a picture of a Myanmar man in an army shirt threatening to shoot anti-coup protesters in the head
Horrific footage has emerged of three medics being surrounded by at least a dozen police officers who were kicking and punching them and even hitting them with their guns as they tried to cower away from the violence
Police were also filmed on Wednesday beating a volunteer ambulance crew in Myanmar’s largest city and commercial hub of Yangon.
CCTV footage showed armed police stopping an ambulance at gunpoint and forcing three medics out before attacking them.
Six cops can be seen smashing the medics over the head with rifle butts, beating them with truncheons, kicking them in the head and blasting out the windows of their ambulance with shotguns.
Meanwhile Myanmar’s military sent fighter jets on a menacing low pass over the country’s second-largest city today in a show of force to accompany the violence.
The five low-flying warplanes buzzed over Mandalay in formation as the generals try to stamp out dissent more than a month since seizing power in the February 1 coup.
And more footage detailed how officers opened fire on crowds of demonstrators in cities around the country without warning, leaving the streets covered in blood.
One piece of footage from Monywa shows how officers were ordered to drag away the body of one protester who had been fatally shot, while graphic video from Myingyan showed a 14-year-old boy who was shot in the head.
Footage taken in the city of Monywa in central Myanmar showed police dragging away the body of a protester after they had been fatally shot
Military jets buzzed over the city of Mandalay on Thursday in a show of strength as protesters returned to the streets to mourn their dead
The US called the images appalling, the UN human rights chief said it was time to ‘end the military’s stranglehold over democracy in Myanmar,’ and the world body’s independent expert on human rights in the country urged the Security Council to watch the videos before meeting Friday to discuss the crisis.
‘I saw today very disturbing video clips,’ said UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told reporters on Thursday.
‘One was police beating a volunteer medical crew,’ Burgener said. ‘They were not armed.
‘Another video clip showed a protester was taken away by police and they shot him from very near, maybe only one meter. He didn’t resist to his arrest, and it seems that he died on the street.’
Wednesday marked the bloodiest day yet in Myanmar after military leaders seized power, undoing the country’s years-long experiment with democracy and drawing tens of thousands of protesters on to the streets.
Police aim their weapons as they chase after protesters during the demonstrations on Thursday in the city of Yangon
People gather around the coffin of Ma Kyal Sin during her funeral in Mandalay, a day after the 19-year-old was shot dead by police
A relative of Kyal Sin, also known as ‘Angel’, is visibly upset at the 19-year-old’s funeral in Mandalay on Thursday
A 19-year-old protester called Kyal Sin – also known as Angel – was shot in the head on the streets of Mandalay after joining the anti-coup protests on Wednesday.
She was wearing a T-shirt that read: ‘Everything will be OK’, a slogan which has since been taken up by her allies and mourners.
Angel was a taekwondo expert as well as a dancer at Mandalay’s DA-Star Dance Club, posting videos of her latest moves on Facebook.
Kyal Sin, also known as Angel
Last year she had proudly voted for the first time in the country’s tentative democracy.
But she joined the protests after the election result was overturned by the generals’ coup on February 1.
After initially taking to the streets waving the flag of Aung San Suu Kyi’s pro-democracy movement, she kept going even as protests grew more dangerous and as the junta deployed combat troops with assault rifles alongside police.
Despite her shirt, she had known it might not be OK – leaving details of her blood group, a contact number and a request to donate her body in the event of her death.
She had been on the frontline of the barricades in Mandalay where a fellow protester said she had bravely kicked open a water pipe so that others could wash tear gas from their eyes.
Before the police assault, Angel can be heard on video shouting, ‘We won’t run’ and ‘blood must not be shed’.
‘When the police opened fire she told me ‘Sit! Sit! Bullets will hit you. You look like you’re on a stage’,’ recalled Myat Thu, 23. ‘She cared for and protected others as a comrade.
‘She was a happy girl, she loved her family and her father loved her so much too,’ said Myat Thu, who is now in hiding. ‘We are not in a war. There is no reason to use live bullets on people. If they are human, they will not do it.’
As well as the 14-year-old boy killed in Myingyan, another 17-year-old was shot dead elsewhere in the country, Save The Children said.
Nineteen-year-old Kyal Sin, also known as ‘Angel’, was also killed after being shot in the neck in Mandalay, local media reported.
She was pictured wearing a t-shirt saying ‘everything will be OK’ just moments before being killed. Thousands gathered today at her funeral in Mandalay.
Deaths also occurred in the country’s largest city of Yangon and the northern mining town of Hpakant.
Witnesses said police gave no warnings to protesters – who have been on the streets almost every day since the military seized power – before opening fire with live ammunition.
Dozens more were wounded by rubber bullets and slingshots fired by officers, according to local doctors.
As part of the crackdown, security forces have also arrested around 1,200 people, including journalists who are facing charges under security laws, according to UN envoy Schraner Burgener.
More than 500 children are estimated to be among those arbitrarily detained, UNICEF said Thursday.
The numbers of demonstrators flooding the streets of cities across the country has remained high even as security forces have repeatedly fired tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds to disperse the crowds, and arrested protesters en masse.
Myanmar has been in chaos since February 1 when the military launched a coup and detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, ending the country’s decade-long experiment with democracy and sparking daily mass protests.
Despite the violence they have endured, demonstrators returned to the streets on Thursday to mourn those who were killed.
International pressure is mounting – Western powers have repeatedly hit the generals with sanctions – and Britain has called for a United Nations meeting on Friday.
But the junta has ignored the global condemnation, responding to the uprising with escalating brutality.
‘Only today, 38 people died,’ UN envoy to Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener told reporters on Wednesday, adding that more than 50 people have died in total since the military takeover, with many more wounded.
‘Today was the bloodiest day since the coup happened,’ she added, without providing any further details, including a breakdown of the deaths.
Burgener called for the UN to take ‘very strong measures’ against the generals, adding that in her conversations with them, they had dismissed the threat of sanctions.
‘I will keep going on, we will not give up,’ she said.
Burgener added that she receives some 2,000 messages per day from people inside Myanmar, many ‘who are really desperate to see action from the international community.’
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday he was horrified by the recent violence in Myanmar and called for a restoration of democracy.
‘I’m horrified by the escalation of violence in Myanmar and the killing of pro-democracy protesters,’ Johnson said on Twitter.
‘We stand with the people of Myanmar in calling for an immediate end to military repression, the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others, and the restoration of democracy,’ said Johnson.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said the UK would be convening the United Nations Security Council to discuss the issue on Friday.
‘Terrible scenes in Myanmar. Targeting your own people with lethal force for simply exercising their right to peaceful protest is unacceptable,’ Raab said on Twitter on Thursday.
‘The ongoing violence and the intimidation must end. The UK & partners will be convening @UN Security Council on Friday.
The violence left the United States ‘appalled and revulsed,’ State Department spokesman Ned Price said, telling reporters: ‘We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn the brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people.’
He singled out China, a frequent US adversary that Myanmar’s military has historically considered its main ally.
‘China does have influence in the region. It does have influence with the military junta. We have called upon the Chinese to use that influence in a constructive way, in a way that advances the interests of the people of Burma,’ Price said, using another name for Myanmar.
And he said the United States, which has imposed sanctions on junta leaders, was looking at further actions.
People flash a three-finger sign or resistance during the burial of anti-coup protester Kyal Sin in Mandalay, Myanmar
Hundreds of people accompany a hearse carrying the body of Kyal Sin, who was shot in the head by security forces, for burial in Mandalay on Thursday
Kyal (left) had been pictured wearing a t-shirt reading ‘everything will be OK’ before being shot, a slogan that protesters have now adopted
Anti-coup protesters wearing helmets and masks hide behind shields as police use tear gas during a march in Yangon on March 4
Police officers aim their guns towards people in nearby apartments as they stand off with anti-coup protesters in Yangon
An excavator moves a barricade made of tyres and set up by demonstrators during an anti-coup protest in Yangon on March 4
An anti-coup protester with a makeshift shield braves teargas during demonstration in Yangon on Thursday
Earlier, AFP recorded at least 17 deaths across Myanmar on Wednesday, with Monywa in the central Sagaing region registering at least seven, according to a doctor.
Medics also said they saw two other individuals being dragged away by security forces but could not confirm if they had died.
In Yangon protesters used makeshift tyre and barbed wire barricades to block major roads.
At least six demonstrators died in Yangon, according to a rescue worker and local journalist.
In downtown Pansodan Road, near the famed Sule pagoda intersection, protesters pasted print-outs of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing’s face on the ground – a tactic aimed at slowing down security forces who will avoid standing on the portraits.
In San Chaung township, which has been the site of intense clashes in recent days, tear gas and fire extinguisher clouds filled the streets as riot police confronted protesters.
In Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-largest city, two demonstrators were killed, a doctor confirmed to AFP, adding that one of the victims aged 19 – now revealed to be Angel – was shot in the head.
Another 19-year-old protester died after being shot in Salin.
‘They shouldn’t have used such lethal force against the peaceful protesters,’ said his friend Min Pyae Phyo, through tears. ‘I won’t forget and forgive them the rest of my life.’
A protest in the central city of Myingyan also turned deadly, as security forces confronted protesters in hard hats crouching behind red home-made shields emblazoned with the three-finger salute – a symbol of resistance for the anti-coup movement.
Demonstrators block a road with tyres, bins and pieces of wood during an anti-coup protest in Yangon whilst they hold makeshift shields on March 4
A pair of demonstrators carry shields to the frontlines as they face off against police in Yangon on March 4
Security forces carrying guns stand on a road during an anti-coup protest in Yangon, Myanmar on March 4
Medical students display flags of the National League for Democracy party during an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay
Medical students display placards during an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay on Thursday
Protesters stand on a makeshift barricade in Yangon on Thursday in an attempt to protect themselves from tear gas and bullets fired by police
‘They fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and live rounds,’ a volunteer medic on the scene told AFP, adding that at least 10 people were injured.
Thet Thet Swe, from Myingyan rescue clinic, confirmed a young man was shot in the head and died. Several medics confirmed this.
‘Zin Ko Ko Zaw, a 20-year-old was shot dead on the spot and my team treated 17 injured people,’ a second rescue team member told AFP.
There were also chaotic scenes at North Okkalapa – a civil society health clinic confirmed 19 injured people had arrived for medical treatment.
‘Some got hit with rubber bullets, some fell down and some were beaten. We had to transfer one man to hospital for a operation because a rubber bullet hit his head. We do not have a surgeon here,’ an official told AFP.
Local media in northern Kachin state also reported similar scenes of violence.
In Dawei, one gunshot victim from Sunday – when 18 people were killed across the country – was cremated on Wednesday.
Mourners held floral wreaths and portraits of Lwin Lwin Oo, 33, as coffin bearers were flanked by hundreds chanting: ‘We are united… Democracy is our cause.’
UNICEF condemned the reported killings of at least five children since Wednesday, as well as the wounding of four others.
‘In addition to those killed or seriously wounded, many children are being exposed to harm from tear gas and stun grenades, and are witnessing horrific scenes of violence, in some cases directed against parents or family members,’ UNICEF said in a statement Thursday.
The intensifying standoff is unfortunately familiar in a country with a long history of peaceful resistance to military rule – and brutal crackdowns. The coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian nation after five decades of military rule.
People ride their motorbikes and flash the defiant three-finger salute as they attend the funeral of Ma Kyal Sin in Mandalay
Anti-coup protesters flash a three-fingered sign of resistance during a demonstration in Yangon on March 4
People flash a three-finger sign of resistance during the burial of anti-coup protester Kyal Sin in Mandalay
People build barricades to deter security personnel from entering a protest area in Mandalay on March 4
Medical students participate in an anti-coup demonstration in Mandalay on Thursday, March 4
Wednesday’s violence came after the foreign ministers of Southeast Asian nations – including Myanmar’s junta representative Wunna Maung Lwin – discussed the crisis at a virtual meeting.
After the talks Indonesia’s Retno Marsudi expressed frustration over the junta’s lack of cooperation, and Singapore condemned the use of lethal force.
The violence on Wednesday also came on the heels of news that six Myanmar journalists would be charged under a law prohibiting ‘causing fear, spreading false news, or agitating directly or indirectly a government employee’, according to their lawyer Tin Zar Oo.
Among them is Associated Press photographer Thein Zaw, who was arrested Saturday as he covered an anti-coup demonstration in Yangon. Video emerged on Wednesday of him being held in a chokehold by police as he was handcuffed.
The other five are from Myanmar Now, Myanmar Photo Agency, 7Day News, Zee Kwet Online News and a freelancer. They face up to three years in jail.
The junta amended the legislation last month, increasing the maximum sentence from two years to three years in jail.
The United States called for their release and was ‘forcefully making clear’ that their detention was ‘unacceptable,’ Price said.
Burgener said that the generals had told her they would hold elections in ‘one year.’
But she also said she had not been able to speak directly with the leaders since February 15, communicating only in writing since then.
She said she sent a ‘long letter’ directly to the army’s number two Soe Win on Sunday but had not yet heard back, though she did receive information from the army daily.
Protesters gather behind a makeshift blockade in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on Thursday
Protesters wearing helmets and masks take part in a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on March 4
And she said she had not yet been granted permission to visit the country.
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group, more than 1,200 people have been arrested since the coup, with about 900 still behind bars or facing charges.
But the real number is likely far higher – state-run media reported more than 1,300 people were arrested on Sunday alone.
State-broadcaster MRTV said Tuesday 511 detainees had been released in Yangon.
Myanmar nationals living in Bangkok, Thailand, hang posters with images of protesters in Myanmar and funeral wreaths in front of the United Nations building on Thursday
Grieving Myanmar nationals hold a candlelight vigil outside the UN Headquarters in Bangkok on Thursday
Pope Francis on Wednesday urged Myanmar’s military authorities to prioritise dialogue over repression.
‘We are still getting sad news from Myanmar of bloody clashes with losses of human lives,’ Francis said during his weekly audience.
‘I would like to draw the attention of the involved authorities so that dialogue may prevail over repression and harmony over discord,’ the 84-year-old Catholic leader said.
The international community should ‘work so that the aspirations of the people of Myanmar are not stifled by violence’, Francis said.
The pope has already spoken out on at least two occasions to voice solidarity with the people of Myanmar following the February 1 coup, and to call for the release of detained leaders.