Urban Warfare

YANGON // No one will forget the fate of Kyal Sin ‘Angel’, a 19-year-old girl killed by police during a similar protest in Mandalay ten days earlier. Minutes before she fell, a photographer took a picture of her running from the frontline as she was wearing a black T-shirt with the message: ‘Everything will be OK’. Thousands of people came to her funeral, as she became a symbol of state violence against the pro-democracy youth, which had since tried to find strategies to minimize the number of casualties and detainees.

Young volunteers equipped with makeshift and cheap protective gear vowed to protect the anti-coup protesters. They placed buckets of water to fight off tear gas and designated front-liners wore masks, goggles, metal shields, gloves and safety jackets made of rubber tires. As most soldiers believe in the superstition that they will be met by misfortune if they pass under female underwear, protesters hung lines of panties all over the streets in the hope that it would slow the military assault. They built barricades with bamboo poles, bricks and sandbags. But their Molotov cocktails, fireworks, burned tires, catapults and air guns had no chance against the Tatmadaw’s tanks, smoke bombs, sound bombs and live bullets. On this day, dozens of people were injured and Khant Nyar Hein, a 18-year-old medical student, was killed, which provoked another shockwave among a traumatized youth.