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Videos Show Extent of Myanmar Military’s Bloody Crackdown

Videos Show Extent of Myanmar Military’s Bloody Crackdown

On Sunday, the authorities in Myanmar began their most violent crackdown to date on protesters who have been massing in the streets for weeks in opposition to the military’s Feb. 1 coup.

The violence against the unarmed and mostly peaceful protesters left 18 dead and more than 30 wounded, according to the United Nations’ human rights office, and took place across the country, including in Mandalay in the north, Dawei in the southeast and Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city.

Unlike previous conflicts in Myanmar, the post-coup crackdown has been “carried out in front of thousands of phones and cameras,” enabling the real-time documentation of extreme violence committed by the authorities, said Richard Weir, a Human Rights Watch researcher previously based in Myanmar.

The New York Times reviewed dozens of these videos, which show both soldiers and police officers using a variety of weapons, including shotguns, flash bangs, tear gas grenade launchers and rifles. In at least two episodes we tracked, footage captured civilians suffering from what appeared to be fatal gunshot wounds. Photographs also show that at least one of the units implicated in the genocidal campaign against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority appears to have been involved in the crackdown.

Here’s what we know from the visual evidence.

One of the most violent episodes on Sunday occurred in Yangon near Hledan Junction, which has become a regular gathering point for protesters.

At around 8:30 a.m., the Mizzima TV news organization filmed police officers advancing west on Hledan Road.

They are seen firing riot guns and pump-action shotguns, which are capable of firing both lethal and less-lethal munitions.

A video from the Myanmar-based News Watch shows protesters running toward a high school as they flee from the officers who are continuing to move toward them.

Amid flash bangs and the sound of gunfire, some of the protesters are carrying the limp body of someone who appears to have been injured.

In a video captured by the local news agency Myanmar Now, another protester lies motionless outside the gate of the high school and begins to bleed from his midsection.

Some stop to try to save the wounded man. They carry him away.

Dr. Rohini Haar, a medical adviser with Physicians for Human Rights, reviewed other images of the man’s body for The Times. Dr. Haar said that the man’s injury appeared to be consistent with a gunshot wound from live ammunition.

The man, who later died, was identified by family members as Nyi Nyi Aung Htet Naing. He had posted “#How_Many_Dead_Bodies_UN_Need_To_Take_Action” on his Facebook page the night before.

Around the same time elsewhere in Yangon, in Yankin Township, video shows doctors and medical students wearing their white coats also peacefully protesting.

The police aim a mix of firearms in the direction of the crowd, including some that appear to be BA-63 rifles, which can be loaded with lethal ammunition or with blank rounds for scaring off crowds. They also fire a shotgun.

Just down the road, protesters are seen fleeing amid flash bangs.

Some seek refuge down a side street.

But officers there herd protesters into a parking lot and load them into police vehicles.

Dr. Haar told The Times that because the man was wearing the helmet, his severe injury could not have been caused by a less lethal munition like a rubber bullet.

Several blocks away, security forces confronting protesters in Theik Pan Street were filmed firing tear gas onto the grounds of City Hospital.

Soldiers photographed firing a tear gas grenade launcher onto the hospital grounds and helping the police make arrests wore insignia that Mr. Weir from Human Rights Watch said appeared to be from Myanmar’s 33rd Light Infantry Division.



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