Protesters in Myanmar demand justice after 2-year-old raped

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Hundreds of people marched to Myanmar’s Central Investigation Department on Saturday to demand justice for a 2-year-old girl who was allegedly raped at her nursery school in the country’s capital in May.

A 29-year-old suspect, Aung Kyaw Myo, was rearrested on Wednesday and charged in the case the next day, Myanmar’s deputy police chief, Aung Naing Thu, told reporters on Friday in Naypyitaw, the capital.

Aung Kyaw Myo was initially arrested in May but was released by a court due to a lack of evidence. Many people in Myanmar have taken to Facebook to say that he has been wrongfully accused, and that the actual attacker is still at large.

Human Rights activist Nickey Diamond, who joined Saturday’s march in Yangon with his family, called on the government to form a special investigation committee.

“Myanmar has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child and it has to protect children,” Diamond said. “As far as we could see from the government investigation activities and the statements that police put out, we have seen some dubious facts.”

The girl was 2 years, 11 months old when she was allegedly raped at her school on May 16. Her mother opened a complaint at a police station the following day, according to local media reports.

Marchers on Saturday held banners and wore white shirts with “Justice for Victoria” emblazoned on them. Victoria is the nickname that people in Myanmar have given the young girl.

Police Lieutenant Zar Mae Phone Ram said 1,200 people took part in the march, while Aung Htike Min, one of the march’s organizers, said over 6,000 participated.

Those taking part included parents and their children, as well as senior citizens.

“We also have a young daughter in our family. We don’t want this kind of thing to happen again in the country,” said 39-year-old business manager Hnin Yu Marn, who joined the march along with her family. “We want justice. We don’t want innocent to be accused …”

Aung Htike Min said the march was organized to “demand justice,” adding, “We want transparency.”

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said on his Facebook page on June 30 that the president’s office wants justice for the girl, but that an investigation would take some time.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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