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Friday, May 14, 2021

Myanmar's junta frees hundreds of protesters

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Myanmar's junta frees hundreds of protesters
Myanmar's junta frees hundreds of protesters

Myanmar's junta freed hundreds of demonstrators arrested during its brutal crackdown on protests on Wednesday (March 24), while many businesses in Yangon remained shut and streets were deserted after anti-coup activists called for a silent strike.

Emily Wither reports.

They streamed out by the busload from a jail in Myanmar's city of Yangon.

Hundreds of demonstrators arrested during the country's brutal crackdown were released Wednesday by the ruling military junta.

There was no immediate word from authorities on how many prisoners were freed.

An activist group called the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says at least 2,000 people have been arrested since protests erupted following the coup in February.

The prisoners were stepping out on to streets that were largely deserted, because other demonstrators were trying a new tactic - a silent strike.

In the country's biggest city Yangon many businesses remained closed.

"I am not going out anywhere or participating in the ways that would disturb the silent strike.

We feel courageous, because we see the action of the military council has suffered from the silent strike.

Our belief in our revolution prevailing will strengthen if we are all united.

That's why our spring revolution must prevail." The strike comes a day after the bloody crackdown saw its youngest victim laid to rest.

A seven-year-old girl.

Her father explained what happened after security forces broke in to their house.

His daughter was sat on his lap.

"They asked, is there anyone else (in the house) and fired the gunshot while saying, 'don't lie to us, old man'.

They shot her as she leaned towards my chest.

I ran and was carrying her and could not even take a look at them (security forces) after she was shot." The military had no immediate comment on the incident.

About 275 people have been killed in the bloody protests, according to the activist group.

The Myanmar office of the UN's children's agency says at least 23 of the dead are children.

Military leaders have promised a new election but have not set a date and have declared a state of emergency.

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