YANGON, Myanmar — A young woman who was shot in the head by the police last week during a protest against the military coup in Myanmar died on Friday, her family said.
Hers was the first confirmed death among the thousands of protesters who have faced off against security forces since the junta took power on Feb. 1, detained the country’s elected leaders and prevented Parliament from convening.
The woman, Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, was shot during a demonstration in the capital, Naypyidaw, on Feb. 9, two days before her 20th birthday. Video showed her sheltering from water cannons and suddenly dropping to the ground after a bullet penetrated the motorcycle helmet she was wearing. She had been on life support in a hospital since then.
Her sister, speaking from the hospital’s mortuary, urged people not to give up their struggle to restore democracy.
“Please participate and continue fighting until we achieve our goal,” the woman’s sister, Mya Thatoe Nwe, said. She said the funeral will be Sunday.
Protesters in Mandalay, the country’s second-biggest city, set up a sidewalk shrine with candles and photos of the dead woman. About 200 people paid their respects at a memorial ceremony at sunset at the place where the police dispersed demonstrators with water cannons last week.
A spokesman for the junta did not deny that Mya Thwet Thwet Khine had been shot by security forces, but said at a news conference this week that she was in a crowd that had thrown rocks at the police.
There were no independent accounts of her taking part in any violence.
Demonstrations continued Friday in Yangon, the country’s biggest city, and elsewhere.
Security forces have been relatively restrained so far in confronting protesters in Yangon, but appeared to be toughening their stance in areas where there is less news media presence.