Security forces and individuals in civilian clothes beat protestors
27 Feb 2023
Police and military harassment and mistreatment of individuals following the coup
Key Event Details
Location of Incident: Monywa town (မုံရွာမြို့), Sagaing region (စစ်ကိုင်းတိုင်းဒေသကြီး) [22.105255, 95.137446].
Date/Time of Incident: 27 February 2021
Alleged Perpetrator(s) and/or Involvement:
Multiple armed police and military personnel
Several men in civilian clothing
Summary of Investigation:
Myanmar Witness has verified footage showing multiple armed police and military personnel, as well as men dressed in civilian clothing, chasing and using sticks to beat two fleeing and unarmed individuals.
The footage indicates potential coordination between the police and civilians in carrying out the beatings.
The footage also shows soldiers from the military’s 101 Light Infantry Division pointing guns at the individuals who were filming the incident.
In the months following the February 2021 military coup, Myanmar Witness documented and verified footage of police and military violence against individuals. This mini-series of spot reports documents five separate incidents in Yangon, Mandalay and Sagaing in February and March 2021. The first report of the series focusses on events in Monywa town (မုံရွာမြို့), Sagaing region (စစ်ကိုင်းတိုင်းဒေသကြီး) [22.105255, 95.137446].
The case studies in the series show police and military personnel beating unarmed individuals, including those already apprehended; harassment, intimidation and arrest of medical workers; and the infliction of degrading treatment. Additionally, ranking police officers were identified in two incidents.
In this case study, Myanmar Witness has verified footage showing two unarmed individuals in civilian clothing, believed to be protestors or bystanders to a protest, running away from a water cannon and security forces. Multiple armed police and military personnel, as well as several men dressed in civilian clothing, are seen chasing and using sticks to beat the two fleeing and unarmed individuals.
Figure: These images are extracts from the first video and depict one of the individuals being beaten while holding a passer-by.
Figure: Extracts from the second video and shows one of the unarmed individual being beaten by police and military personnel. The second image shows the individual on the ground while being beaten by police and military personnel.
The videos potentially reveal coordination between police and individuals dressed in civilian clothing. However, it cannot be ascertained from this case study whether the individuals were affiliated with, acting in coordination with, or undercover members of the security forces.
Figure: Image extracts from the first video and shows one of the individuals in civilian clothing possibly communicating with military personnel.
Analysis of rank and insignia, clearly visible in the footage, attributes responsibility of this violence to the Lon Htein (Riot Security Forces), soldiers from Myanmar military’s Yangon Command, and the 101 Light Infantry Division.
Figure: Extracts from the second video showing the left arm patches of the two soldiers threatening the person filming the scene. Figure 31: Sourced from Wikipedia and a Myanmar military-aligned VK account, shows a matching insignia for the 101 Light Infantry Division.
Sticks are used to beat the individuals’ head, arms and torso to the extent that one of them appears unable to stand, and a stretcher is brought for him. It also shows soldiers from the military’s 101 Light Infantry Division pointing guns at the individuals who were filming the incident.
To read the full investigation, download the report PDF.
These examples of police and military brutality are being released to mark two years passing since their occurrence; however, they are by no means exhaustive. Myanmar Witness has documented other instances of police and military harassment since the coup, which has been documented in several reports, including: Violence against protestors in North Okkalapa, Bago, and Hlaing Tharyar; and, the deaths of multiple female protestors, including Ma Kyal Sin (Angel) and Daw Tinnwe.