(Bioreports)A young woman shot in the head last week during an anti-coup protest in the Myanmar capital died on Friday, a family member told Bioreports.
She is the first known casualty of pro-democracy protests that have been ongoing for two weeks, following the military’s seizure of power on February 1.
Mya Thweh Thweh Khine had been in critical condition since February 9, when she was shot at a protest in Naypyidaw.
At the time, a source with direct information about the victim said she was taken to hospital with a gunshot wound in the head. Meanwhile, National League for Democracy Party (NLD) spokesperson Kyi Toe said in a Facebook post that a bullet had pierced the motorcycle helmet she was wearing.
Video of the incident circulated online showed a young woman suddenly falling to the ground while taking cover from a water cannon at a protest.
Rights group Amnesty International had previous analyzed images and footage from that week and said that they showed a police officer holding a locally made variant of an Uzi sub-machine gun. Amnesty said the images were taken from a location near the Thabyegone Roundabout, across the road from where a young woman was shot.
Amnesty said it has verified the coordinates of the image, which shows an officer holding a “Myanmar-made BA-94 or BA-93 Uzi clone.” Bioreports has not been able to independently verify the image.
In a news release, the head of Amnesty’s crisis evidence lab Sam Dubberley said: “The serious injuries sustained by this young woman were caused by the Myanmar police firing live ammunition directly towards peaceful protesters.”
Myanmar’s military posted on its Facebook page on February 10 that it only used anti-riot weapons at the protest near the Thabyegone Roundabout and was investigating reports that two protesters had been injured.
Mya Thweh Thweh Khine’s death sparked calls for an investigation into the use of force by Myanmar’s security forces.
“The incidents leading up to her death and allegations of live ammunition used by Myanmar police should be investigated. Above all, there should be strong international condemnation and strong consequences against the Myanmar military,” said Human Rights Watch’s Myanmar researcher Manny Maung on Twitter.
Since the shooting, Mya Thweh Thweh Khine has become a symbol of the protests, which have grown over the past two weeks. Illustrations of her image can be seen on signs and banners as thousands of people have taken to the streets each day, calling for the military to hand back power to civilian control and for the release of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other elected officials.