Seven-year-old girl youngest victim so far in Myanmar violence

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A seven-year-old girl was killed in her home when security forces opened fire in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay, becoming the youngest victim so far in a crackdown against opposition to last month’s military coup.

The ruling junta accused pro-democracy protesters of arson and violence during the weeks of unrest, and said it would use the least force possible to quell the daily demonstrations.

Junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said 164 protesters had been killed in total and he expressed sadness at the deaths. Activists say at least 261 people have been killed in the security forces’ crackdown.

Myanmar activists plan more anti-coup protests on Wednesday, including a silent strike with many businesses due to close and calls for people to stay home, a day after a seven-year-old girl was killed in her home when security forces opened fire during a crackdown in Mandalay.

Pro-democracy protesters also held more candle-lit vigils overnight including in a district of the commercial capital Yangon and in Thahton in Mon State.

The vigils came after staff at a funeral service in Mandalay told Reuters that a seven-year-old girl had died of bullet wounds in the city – the youngest victim so far in a bloody crackdown of opposition to the Feb. 1 coup.

Soldiers shot at her father but hit the girl who was sitting on his lap inside their home, her sister told the Myanmar Now media outlet. Two men were also killed in the district, it said.

In what has now often become a deadly game of cat and mouse with security forces during street protests, pro-democracy activists switched tactics and planned to hold a silent strike on Wednesday.

Main Photo: Relatives and friends react during the funeral procession of a person killed in the anti-coup protests, in Mandalay, Myanmar. Anti-coup protests continued despite the intensifying violent crackdowns on demonstrators by security forces. EPA-EFE/STRINGER

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