Myanmar’s Junta Kills 7-Year-Old Girl, ‘Silent Strike’ Hits Country

An empty street is pictured next to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on March 24, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

Naypyitaw-Military junta forces in Myanmar have shot and killed a seven-year-old girl while trying to arrest her father in their home during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters.

The forces entered the house in Myanmar’s second-largest city, Mandalay, on Tuesday, and killed Hin Myo Chit, 7, as she was sitting on her father’s lap, her sister told the Myanmar Now media outlet.

Security forces were trying to shoot the father, she said.

According to staff at a Mandalay funeral service, the kid died of bullet wounds in her stomach in Chan Mya Thazi Township on the same day.

She has become the youngest of about the 275 people killed in the junta crackdown, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). And her tragic death prompted activists to call for a nationwide “silent strike” on Wednesday.

The junta has not commented on the girl’s shooting death yet.

Two men were also killed in the township, the report said.

Myanmar has been convulsed by mass rallies and strikes since the military ousted de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, and arrested her and several other political leaders over election fraud allegations.

More than 2,812 people have been arrested and 250 killed, according to the AAPP.

Meanwhile, the military says it has released hundreds of demonstrators arrested during its crackdown on weeks of protests across the country.

And a court hearing for Suu Kyi — who has been in detention for almost two months — was adjourned until next month.

Here is more of the latest:

20 children killed, 146 arrested during protests

According to aid group Save the Children, at least 20 children have been killed in the military crackdown.

“We are horrified that children continue to be among the targets of these fatal attacks on peaceful protesters,” said the organization.

“The safety of children must be protected under all circumstances and we once again call on security forces to end these deadly attacks against protesters immediately,” it added.

A teenage boy was killed inside his home in Mandalay on Monday.

The aid group also expressed concern about the “hundreds of young people” being held in detention.

As of Tuesday, the group said it had responded to 146 cases of child arrest or detention, and at least 488 students were currently being held by security forces.

According to the United Nations (UN), many people have been taken arbitrarily in nighttime raids, and their families do not know where their loved ones are or what condition they are in.

Junta says has freed 600 prisoners

On Wednesday, the military junta said it had released some 600 people held for protesting against the coup in the country’s commercial hub of Yangon.

“We released 360 men and 268 women from Insein prison today,” a senior prison official said.

Lawyer Khin Maung Myint, who was at Insein prison for the hearing of two clients, said 16 busloads of people left the jail in the morning.

Local media showed images of the prisoners on the buses flashing the three-fingered salute — a sign of resistance for the anti-coup movement.

“They were sent to related police stations to go back home… Some clients called me (after) informing me of their release,” Myint said.

Streets deserted amid ‘silent strike’

Meanwhile, a “silent strike” was called by activists in the cities of Yangon and Naypyidaw on Wednesday.

Many businesses remained shut, and streets were deserted in Yangon, and few vehicles were seen on the road in the country’s biggest city.

“No going out, no shops, no working. All shut down. Just for one day,” activist Nobel Aung told Reuters.

In the southern city of Myeik, rows of dolls were set up along roads, holding up tiny signs reading “We need democracy” and “We wish for Mother Suu to be healthy.”

Suu Kyi hearing adjourned until next month

In another development, a court hearing that was due to be held for Suu Kyi in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyidaw, on Wednesday was adjourned until April 1.

The hearing on criminal charges was postponed because of problems with video conferencing caused by a junta-imposed internet shutdown, said her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw.

He said there was a large police presence outside the court gates and lawyers were not being allowed into the building.

The lawyer said he had still not been able to speak to Suu Kyi privately.

Suu Kyi faces several criminal charges, including for owning unlicensed walkie-talkies and violating coronavirus restrictions by staging a campaign event in 2020. She is also being investigated for allegations of corruption.

If convicted, she could be permanently barred from political office.

The international community has repeatedly called for the restoration of civilian rule. It has also urged the junta to stop the use of lethal force against the anti-coup protesters.

The military regime has, however, defied global calls for restraint and maintained its use of lethal force.

 

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