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Hundreds in Myanmar turned out to mourn 19-year-old protester Ma Kyal Sin, also known as “Angel”, whose killing has become an iconic moment in protests after her photograph, in which she’s seen wearing a T-shirt with the phrase, “Everything will be OK”, went viral.
Myanmar recorded at least 38 deaths during the lethal charge by soldiers on Wednesday, the country’s worst day of violence, when Angel was shot in the head in Mandalay wearing the now-famous T-shirt. Protesters, including many youngsters, sang songs around her coffin, raised the three-fingered salute and chanted slogans.
Angel was reportedly aware of the risks and had posted her details, including her blood group, and a request to donate her body in case of her death, on social media.
Sai Tun, who attended Angel’s funeral, said: “We feel so angry about their inhuman behaviour and really sad at the same time. We’ll fight dictatorship until the end. We must prevail,” according to Reuters.
The number of protesters killed in violence in one week has passed 50, including 18 on Sunday. Since 1 February, when the military unseated the democratically elected government, the protests against them have refused to die down despite repeated warnings by the security forces.
The protesters have been demanding the restoration of the democratic government and the release of arrested leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi.
In the town of Monywa, family and friends of young poet TZ Win, who was also killed on Wednesday, mourned his death. On Tuesday, he had posted a poem on his Facebook account that said: “The louder the song of the youth, the more the whole world will be cleansed.”
Michelle Bachelet, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said security forces in Myanmar must halt a “vicious crackdown on peaceful protestors”.
She added: “Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protestors. It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country.” Ms Bachelet emphasised that she was appalled at the attacks against emergency medical staff and ambulances attempting to provide care to those injured.
According to the information corroborated by the UN human rights office, at least 54 people have been killed by police and military officers but noted that actual death toll could be much higher.
Though there is no exact number of those who suffered injuries during the protests, it is estimated to run into hundreds. Since the coup, more than 1,700 people have been arrested and detained for participating in the protests including leaders, political activists, election officials, authors, human rights activists teachers, healthcare workers, civil servants, journalists, monks, and celebrities.
It is believed that the actual number of those detained or arrested could be much higher as protests are taking place across the country. It is also reported that some people have already been convicted and sentenced to prison terms ranging from seven days to two years.
Ms Bachelet called for the immediate release of all those who remain arbitrarily detained and said: “Many of the arbitrary arrests and detentions that have been carried out since 1 February may constitute enforced disappearances.”
According to the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, an enforced disappearance occurs where an individual is detained by, or with the acquiescence of, state actors and there is no official acknowledgement or information about their wellbeing and whereabouts.
Additional reporting by agencies