Mingalar Taung Nyunt protesters seen before the crackdown. / CJ
Teenage girls who participated in an anti-coup protest on Sunday in Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township in Yangon were badly injured after being arrested and beaten by junta security forces, according to a source close to their families.
Young protesters gathered on Sunday evening in Mingalar Taung Nyunt to mark the 34th anniversary of the death of Ko Phone Maw and Ko Soe Naing, who were shot dead by riot police on the night of March 13, 1988 on the campus of the Rangoon Institute of Technology [now Yangon Technological University].
As the protesters were about to disperse, a group of men armed with batons emerged from private vehicles and beat and arrested the demonstrators, said one protester who escaped arrest.
“They beat me first and my head was bruised. As I turned away and ran, they tried to arrest my friends. I managed to push some of them away and pulled one of my friends out. At that time, they arrested three teenage girls by pulling their hair from behind. They also kicked the girls,” he said.
A witness said he saw some ten men in civilian clothes dragging three girls aged around 15 by their hair while beating them.
Another university student who participated in the protest and escaped arrest said one of the girls is just 14 and the other two are 16.
“We tried to save as many protesters as possible. But, unfortunately, the three girls were detained. We are concerned as they are the youngest among us. We hope they will be released as soon as possible,” said the student.
The three girls were taken to Mingalar Taung Nyunt police station before being sent to the Latha Township police station, according to a source close to their families.
One of the girls was knocked out in the beating and only regained consciousness the next morning. Another of the girls lost four teeth, while the other one was badly bruised, said the source.
“One of the girls only regained consciousness around four or five in the morning the next day. She was kicked in her head and ribs,” said the source.
On March 12, junta soldiers raided apartments at the corner of 45th Street and Bogoyoke Road in Yangon’s Botahtaung Township following the explosion of a stun grenade. Four university students who rent an apartment on 46th Street were arrested and taken to an interrogation center.
Two of the students were men from the Yangon University of Economics, one was a male student from West Yangon University, and the other a graduate of the Monywa University of Economics.
The military regime has stepped up its crackdown on urban resistance fighters in Yangon, as well as anti-coup protesters. A number of innocent civilians have also been arrested.
Since last year’s coup, the junta has detained over 12,600 people. Around 9,600 remain in detention, with 844 of them given prison terms. Of those, 45 were handed death sentences, including two teenagers.
Some 1,676 people have been killed by the regime since the military takeover.
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