The shooting of a young protester

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Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing was taken to hospital in a critical condition. The young woman’s shooting has become a defining moment in Myanmar’s fight for democracy following the military coup last week.

Footage of the incident, and a photo that appears to show her bloodied and unconscious afterward (below), have been widely shared on social media.

Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing shortly after she was wounded

Many Burmese online are outraged at what appears to be the first shooting of a civilian since the start of the protests, and the UN has expressed concern at the actions taken by security forces. The army says that only rubber projectiles, not real bullets, were used during the protests and that the police are investigating.

So what do we know about the woman in the video? What was she doing at the time she was shot and were bullets fired at protesters? Looking at the photos and video shared on social media, and by speaking to forensics experts, we’ve examined the evidence around the shooting.

‘That’s when she was shot’

A video of the shooting shared widely online shows a group of people taking cover by a bus shelter. In the group, a woman is standing wearing a motorcycle helmet and a red top. Police equipped with riot shields and batons are visible on the nearby road.  As the security forces begin spraying water and moving forward, multiple gunshots can be heard on the video.

Immediately afterward, the footage shows the woman in the red top, who had her back turned to the police, fall suddenly to the ground.

Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing’s sister Mya Tha Toe Nwe

“As you can see it online, we were hidden in the back. When I heard the gunfire, I thought they were shooting upwards,” her sister told BBC Burmese.

“That was when she was shot. I thought my sister fell down due to her anger. When people were calling for help and pulled off her helmet, I saw blood coming out of her head and realized

Where did the shooting happen?

Taking the video of the shooting on its own, which is low-quality and from a limited angle, the location where the woman was shot isn’t immediately clear. But by cross-referencing visual clues from billboards and road signs with other footage from the day, it’s possible to precisely pinpoint the incident.

Other footage we’ve looked at shows police moving down Taungnyo Road, being met by a mass of protesters on the road roughly in line with the bus shelter. The area in the footage is near Thapyaygone Market, which sells clothes, food, and homeware. It’s also possible to estimate when the shooting took place – between 12:00 and 13:30 local time – from the angle of the shadows of structures in the footage that she was hit. Then the crowd took her away.”


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