By CBS News, published by MSN News
Yangon — Kneeling before them in the dust of a northern Myanmar city, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng begged a group of heavily armed police officers to spare “the children” and take her life instead.
The image of the Catholic nun in a simple white habit, her hands spread, pleading with the forces of the country’s new junta as they prepared to crack down on a protest, has gone viral and won her praise in the majority-Buddhist country.
“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead,” she told AFP today (March 9).
Her act of bravery in the city of Myitkyina yesterday came as Myanmar struggles with the chaotic aftermath of the military’s February 1 ouster of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
As protests demanding the return of democracy have rolled on, the junta has steadily escalated its use of force, using tear gas, water cannon, rubber bullets, and live rounds.
“The world was crashing”
Protesters took to the streets of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, yesterday wearing hard hats and carrying homemade shields.
As police started massing around them, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng and two other nuns pleaded with them to leave.
“The police were chasing to arrest them and I was worried for the children,” she said. It was at that point that the 45-year-old nun fell to her knees.
She was joined by her fellow sisters and the local bishop, who surrounded her as she pleaded for mercy for the protesters.
“We were there to protect our sister and our people because she had her life at risk,” Sister Mary John Paul told AFP.
The city has seen frequent crackdowns from authorities since the coup, including a violent dispersal of peaceful teachers last month that sent several into hiding.
So far, more than 60 people have been killed in anti-coup demonstrations around the country, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group.
Fear runs deep for Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, but she said she must be brave and will continue to stand up for “the children”.
“I can’t stand and watch without doing anything, seeing what’s happening in front of my eyes while all Myanmar is grieving,” she said.
Top: Catholic nun, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, pleads with heavily armed police officers to spare “the children.” Photo: Provided by CBS News and published by MSN News
Home Page: Catholic nun, Sister Ann Rose Nu Tawng, is interviewed by the Myitkyina News Journal in the northern Myanmar city of Myitkyina, in Kachin state, after confronting police cracking down on anti-coup protesters, on March 8, 2021. Photo: Myitkyia News Journal/Reuters, provided by CBS News and published by MSN News