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A YOUNG woman shot in the head by police in Myanmar has became the first person to die during the continuing protests against the country’s military coup, her family revealed today.
Thousands of demonstrators have defied security forces’ efforts to suppress the unrest since the military junta seized power nearly three weeks ago after claiming that a general election in November had been fraudulent.
Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was shot during a demonstration in the capital Nay Pyi Taw on February 9 — two days before her 20th birth
Video footage showed her sheltering from water cannon and suddenly dropping to the ground after a bullet penetrated the motorcycle helmet that she was wearing.
She was put on life support in hospital, but doctors said that there was no chance of her recovering.
Her sister, speaking from the hospital’s mortuary, urged people not to give up their struggle to restore democracy.
“Please participate and continue fighting until we achieve our goal,” said Mya Thatoe Nwe.
The funeral will take place tomorrow.
A spokesman for the military did not deny that Ms Thwet Khine had been shot by security forces, but he said this week that she had been in a crowd that had thrown stones at police officers and that the case was under investigation.
There were no other accounts of her taking part in violence.
The police have denied using lethal force at the rally, but doctors said that two other protesters had also been struck by live rounds that day.
Human Rights Watch accused the police in Nay Pyi Taw of having “blood on their hands.”
Deputy Asia director Phil Robertson said: “The officer who pulled the trigger must be investigated, arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
“That’s the only suitable way to honour the memory of this brave young woman.”
Demonstrations continued across the country today. Many protesters in Yangon, the largest city, wore uniforms to indicate that they were staying away from work.
They chanted: “Don’t go to the office, go on strike.”
Police officers sealed the city’s main protest site and set up barricades at an intersection where a demonstration had previously been held, although this failed to prevent hundreds of people from gathering.
Clashes between police and protesters also took place in Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin, a northern state where the ethnic minority population has long been in conflict with the central government.
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