Myanmar’s dead rises, as firemen flee the country

A medical student who will now never graduate.

The 17-year-old is the latest protester to lose his life in a brutal crackdown on anti-coup protesters in Myanmar.

Friends and family sang revolutionary songs as they paid their final respects.

Khant Nyar Hein lost his life on the outskirts of the capital Yangon on Sunday (March 14), now the bloodiest day of the protests since the February 1st military coup against elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Security forces shot dead at least 20 people on Monday after 74 were killed a day earlier, many in a Yangon suburb where Chinese-financed factories were torched.

The Chinese embassy said many Chinese staff were injured and trapped in arson attacks by unidentified assailants, and called on Myanmar to protect Chinese property and citizens.

China is viewed as being supportive of the military junta that has taken power.

Now some of those that don’t support the military government and its increasingly brutal crackdown are fleeing into neighboring India.

Among them is Khaw, a fireman, who said he and 20 others joined the protesters after refusing police orders.

"On February 18, we received an order from the military that the fire truck, which is red in color, had to be painted white, which is the color of the police. The firetruck was supposed to be used for crowd dispersal. On that particular day, on February 18, I was the commander and I went to disperse the crowd but I did not fulfill my orders. We did not want to be under the control of the military so we joined the CDM (Civil Disobedience Movement)."

He’s now in India’s Mizoram state where Reuters has also spoken to police defectors who say they refused to shoot civilians.

A spokesman for the junta could not be reached for comment.

According to an Indian police officer in Mizoram, more than 400 people from Myanmar, many of them policemen, have fled there since late February.

India's federal government has ordered local authorities to stop the influx.