People pay respect as the coffin of Ma Kyal Sin is being brought during the funeral ceremony. (Image: Kaung Zaw Hein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Kaung Zaw Hein
- Wednesday was the bloodiest day of protests in Myanmar since the military’s February coup.
- A 19-year-old girl wearing a shirt that said “Everything will be OK” was shot in the head Wednesday.
- Photos of Kyal Sin before her death have gone viral, spurring continued defiance among protesters.
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Nineteen-year-old Kyal Sin, known as Angel, made careful preparations before hitting the streets of Mandalay Wednesday.
She left a contact number and details about her blood type on a social media account with one additional request – if she died, she wanted her organs donated.
Angel had been attending Myanmar’s anti-coup protests for nearly a month and knew the dangers posed by the increasingly violent junta.
But none of her precautions, nor prior awareness has abated the tragedy of her brutal death: She was shot in the head by Myanmar security forces Wednesday during the bloodiest day of protests in the country yet.
Since her death, the teenage activist has become a martyr for fellow protesters in Myanmar, spurring continued defiance with the message printed on the T-shirt she was wearing when she was killed: “Everything will be OK.”
A post shared by CHNGE ™ (@chnge)
After more than a month of protests stemming from a February 1 military coup, the pro-democracy demonstrations have turned increasingly deadly in recent days as military officials have escalated the violence, using stun grenades, tear gas, and live ammunition against protesters.
Demonstrators first hit the streets at the start of February, after Myanmar’s military announced it would be taking control of the country for at least a year, citing unfounded claims of voter fraud as justification for the coup.
Wednesday, Angel joined the growing number of people killed in Myanmar’s streets when she was shot in the head while fighting for the country’s tenuous democracy – the one for which Angel had proudly cast her first-ever vote last year, according to Reuters.
“My very first vote, from the bottom of my heart,” she reportedly posted. “I did my duty for my country.”
One of Angel’s fellow protesters, Myat Thu, told the outlet that the young activist looked out for and protected other demonstrators during the protests, kicking open a water pipe to help wash the tear gas from people’s eyes and throwing a gas canister back toward security forces.
Thu told the outlet the police first hit them with tear gas, then switched to bullets. It wasn’t until later in the day that Thu said he heard a girl had been killed.
A mourner makes the three finger salute during the Ma Kyal Sin’s funeral ceremony. Photo by Kaung Zaw Hein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Angel wasn’t the only one to be murdered by a shot to the head. According to Reuters, more than a dozen protesters have been killed in the same way, raising suspicions that certain protesters are being targeted. Last weekend, a bystander in Mandalay was also reportedly shot in the head.
More than 54 protesters have been killed by security forces in the last month, according to the BBC, though other reports estimate the number is much higher. Wednesday was the single bloodiest day since the coup was initiated with at least 38 deaths across the country. According to the New York Times, at least three children have been “gunned down” in the country in the last month.
“Myanmar’s military must stop murdering and jailing protestors,” United Nations High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet said in a Thursday press release. “It is utterly abhorrent that security forces are firing live ammunition against peaceful protesters across the country.
Photos of Angel at the protests leading her fellow demonstrators while wearing her defiant T-shirt have galvanised social media as her friends, family, and supporters from around the world mourn the taekwondo champion who loved to dance.
—Tams Lu (@tamyumkung) March 3, 2021
Large crowds gathered Thursday to line the procession at Angel’s funeral, according to the BBC.
The outlet reported that Angel’s aunt spoke at her funeral.
“I feel sad but they must fall soon. Our fight must win.”