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Hundreds of protesters released in Myanmar

Hundreds of protesters released in Myanmar
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Military forces in Myanmar in a rare move Wednesday released hundreds of people who had been imprisoned in connection with demonstrations against last month’s military coup that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the country’s civilian government. 

State-run TV said that a total of 628 people were released, with witnesses noting busloads of mostly young people outside Insein Prison in Yangon, according to The Associated Press

Some of those released reportedly flashed the three-finger gesture that has been adopted by protesters to show their opposition to the military coup. 

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AP journalist Thein Zaw, who had been detained late last month while covering the protests, was also released Wednesday, with the news service noting that all charges against him had been dropped. 

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

According to the AP, more than 2,000 people remain in military custody in connection with the anti-coup demonstrations. The independent Assistance Association for Political Prisoners says that at least 275 people have been killed during the military crackdown. 

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A 7-year-old girl shot dead by Myanmar military forces on Tuesday became the youngest victim in the military junta’s raids on demonstrators. 

Al Jazeera reported that the girl, Khin Myo Chit, was sitting on her father’s lap when security forces entered her home in Myanmar’s second-largest city of Mandalay. 

The soldiers reportedly shot at the father, but hit the girl instead, ultimately killing her, according to CNN

Several demonstrators on Wednesday opted to stay home and close businesses as a different form of protest to honor the lives lost in the crackdown since the Feb. 1 coup. 

The AP reported that several posted messages online said that silence is “the loudest scream,” with images on social media showing largely empty streets. Some protesters did go outside to release red balloons with leaflets attached.