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Myanmar Releases Protesters
News Bytes 03/29/2021 12 Comments

Hundreds of people imprisoned for demonstrating against last month’s coup in Myanmar were released Wednesday. (See Myanmar Coup.) It was a rare conciliatory (goodwill) gesture by the military. The action appeared aimed at quieting the protest movement.

Witnesses outside Insein Prison in Yangon saw busloads of mostly young people leaving the facility. Most looked happy with some flashing a three-finger salute. That has become known as a gesture of defiance adopted by protesters. State-run TV says a total of 628 were freed.

Also Wednesday, journalist Thein Zaw was released. He was arrested last month while covering an anti-coup protest.

The February 1 coup reversed a decade of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country. The overthrow ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. Protests erupted immediately. Myanmar’s security forces likewise acted, cracking down violently on demonstrators. The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says that at least 275 people have been killed. Thousands more have been arrested. More than 2,000 remain in custody or have charges against them outstanding.

Wednesday’s release was an unusual action by the military. It has so far seemed unconcerned about both internal pressure from citizen unrest and outside pressure from international sanctions.

The military crackdown has become increasingly brutal. The United Nations expressed concern that individual homes have been raided and families tyrannized as military forces seek protesters inside private residences. A seven-year-old girl reportedly was shot and killed while sitting on her father’s lap in their home.

In response to the violence, demonstrators tried a new tactic Wednesday. They called it a “silence strike.” People stayed home and businesses closed for the day. Messages online urged people not to flood the streets in protest, saying silence is “the loudest scream.” It’s unclear whether that strike persuaded the military to release some of the prisoners, including Thein Zaw.

The freed journalist reports that a judge dropped all charges against him because he was doing his job at the time of his arrest.

“I’m looking forward to meeting my family members,” he says. “I’m sorry for some colleagues who are still in prison.”

(Anti-coup protesters hold red balloons attached with leaflets supporting democracy. The balloons were released during a gathering on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, in Yangon, Myanmar. The same day, the military released hundreds of people imprisoned for protesting last month’s coup d’état. AP)

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Most recent comments

1st comment

lots of balloons

second comment... XP

podium

3rd Comment

I would be so sacred if my daughter (not right know because I'm 13, but in the future) suddenly got shot while on my lap. I feel so bad for that dad.

But about the article

I like that line: "silence is the loudest scream" It really is. For these people. For us, it's to move on with our lives because the government wants us to stay home. They want Covid to keep going and we want it to stop and WE run this country, NOT the government.

@Noah R

Yeah. That's really terrible.

@ Noah

do you mean scared not sacred? cause im kinda confused

@Micah

Yes, I think he had a typo there.

@Above

I am glad they were released.
@Noah: Yes that would be so terrible. Praying for that family, and especially the dad.

I"m glad they were released!

I"m glad they were released! Still praying!!
That must be SO TERRIBLE beyond description to have your child killed on your lap....

Micah D

Yes I did mean scared, not sacred.

11th comment

Wow. That's terrible to hear how many were killed but I'm glad to hear about the ones that were set free. Having your child shot when they are so near you is just unbelievably horrible!

Poor father, to have his

Poor father, to have his child shot while on his lap!

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