US State Dept promises more ‘firm action’ against Myanmar’s military junta after young woman fatally shot at anti-coup protest

The US has vowed to take more steps against the military junta that seized power in Myanmar earlier this month. The American embassy in the country earlier condemned the killing of a female student at a protest.

Washington will “continue to take firm action against those who perpetrate violence against the people of Burma,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tweeted on Monday, using the old name for Myanmar.

“We stand with the people of Burma,” he wrote.

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price called on the Burmese military to release “all those unjustly detained” after the coup. 

The American embassy in the country previously said it was “deeply troubled” by the fatal shooting of a young female protester at an anti-coup rally in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw.

The 20-year-old student named Ma Mya Thwet Thwet Khine was hit in the head by a live bullet on February 10 and died on Saturday. The military government claimed that the woman was killed by ammunition that is not being used by riot police. 

Local media reported that at least four people have been killed by security forces since February 7, as the military cracked down on protesters. 

The Burmese Armed Forces arrested high-ranking government officials on February 1, including state counsellor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Aung San Suu Kyi, who was placed under house arrest. The military argued that the November parliamentary election, which was won by Suu Kyi’s party, had been rigged. 

The coup was condemned by the UN. Washington imposed sanctions on several military officials in Myanmar earlier this month, including the Armed Forces’ top commander and the country’s new leader Min Aung Hlaing.

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A soldier (R) carries a sniper rifle during a demonstration against the military coup where security forces fired on protesters in Mandalay on February 20, 2021.
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