SOURCE: The Catholic Leader
A solitary, distressed nun stands her ground begging Myanmar police not to shoot at protesting civilians – one of the latest, confronting images shared on social media by the country’s leading Catholic figure, as street clashes claim a rising toll of deaths and injuries.
Sister of Francis Xavier, Nu Thawng, appears alone in front of heavily-armoured riot police, in several images shared on Twitter by Yangon Archbishop Archbishop Charles Maung Bo, an outspoken critic of the recent military coup.
Myanmar police have opened fired on protesters during the bloodiest day in weeks of demonstrations against the military takeover.
“Peace is possible. Peace is the only way. Democracy is the only light to that path,” Cardinal Bo, who is president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Myanmar, tweeted.
At least 18 people were killed and several injured during Sunday rallies, the UN human rights office said.
“We strongly condemn the escalating violence against protests in Myanmar and call on the military to immediately halt the use of force against peaceful protestors.
The people of Myanmar have the right to assemble peacefully and demand the restoration of democracy. These fundamental rights must be respected by the military and police, not met with violent and bloody repression.
Cardinal Bo is quoted by the Reuters news agency as describing his nation as a “battlefield”.
In Yangon, teacher Tin New Yee died after police swooped to disperse a teachers’ protest with stun grenades, sending the crowd fleeing, her daughter and a fellow teacher said.
Police also hurled stun grenades outside a Yangon medical school, sending doctors and students in white lab coats scattering.
A group called the Whitecoat Alliance of medics said more than 50 medical staff had been arrested.
Myanmar has been in chaos since the army seized power and detained elected leader Ms Suu Kyi and much of her party leadership on February 1, alleging fraud in a November election her party won in a landslide.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned what he called “abhorrent violence” by Myanmar security forces in the latest deadly crackdown against protesters there.