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(WASHINGTON) Free Speech Report: The United States’ oldest journalism organisation ‘Associated Press’ says it is “frustrated and fed up” with the arrests of reporters covering protests in Myanmar and has called for their release #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Mar.07: A video of the arrest shows him being surrounded and held in a chokehold as handcuffs are placed on him:

Calls for release of journalists arrested while covering Myanmar’s military coup: ‘Associated Press journalist Thein Zaw was arrested on February 27 while covering a protest against the military coup that ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi’ Free Speech is a Right of God says Kindness & Love X❤️

Posted 8h ago, updated 3h ago

Thein Zaw wearing a blue polo shirt and holding a camera standing in front of a body of water
The Society of Professional Journalists has called on Myanmar to release Thein Zaw and five others who were detained while covering protests.(AP: Thein Zaw’s family, file)

AP has called for his release.

Authorities charged Thein Zaw and five other journalists with violating a public order law that could see them imprisoned for up to three years.

In a statement also calling for the US government to drop charges against journalists charged during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) called on Myanmar to release detained journalists.

Tear gas smoke rises where protesters and riot police stand
Protesters are dispersed as riot police fire tear gas in Tharkata, on the outskirts of Yangon.(AP)

“Those journalists, like all journalists, are doing their jobs, and shouldn’t be punished for it,” SPJ national president Matthew Hall said in the statement.

“What part of ‘journalism is not a crime’ do government officials not get?”

Huge Sunday protest

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Myanmar on Sunday in one of the biggest days of protest against last month’s coup, despite overnight raids by security forces in Yangon to crack down on protest leaders.

Police fired tear gas and stun grenades in Lashio, in the country’s northern Shan region, according to live video posted on Facebook. 

A witness said police opened fire to break up a protest in the historic temple town of Bagan but it was not clear if they were using rubber bullets or live ammunition.Loading

There were no immediate reports of casualties. 

Protests in half a dozen other cities were peaceful.

The biggest turnout was in Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay, where activists staged a sit-in protest after two minutes of silence in honour of people killed by police and the army, video showed.

Into the early hours of Sunday, residents said soldiers and police moved into several districts of Yangon, firing shots. 

They arrested at least three in Kyauktada, said residents who did not know the reason for the arrests.

“They are asking to take out my father and brother … is no-one going to help us?” one woman screamed as two people were led off by security officials.

Soldiers also came looking for a lawyer who worked for Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy but were unable to find him, a member of the now dissolved parliament, Sithu Maung, said in a Facebook post.

Victims mourned after week of violence

A Saturday night vigil was held in Yangon as about 1,000 mourners gathered to remember protesters killed in brutal crackdowns by security forces in Myanmar.

Mourners holding roses and song sheets stood in long lines around an arrangement of candles that spelled out the word “Heros” (sic) in English.‘I fear for their lives’International students from Myanmar who have taken part in anti-military rallies in Australia face grave danger if they return, activists say, calling on the government to offer asylum.Read more

As they sang and prayed, a projector showed photographs of the victims on a large screen.

There have been deaths across the country since the military government began to meet protests against their February 1 power grab with lethal force, but Yangon has borne the brunt.

Eighteen people died there on Wednesday.

Fresh protests were reported in Yangon on Saturday morning, with stun grenades and tear gas used against the demonstrators.

As well as Yangon, protests also took place in several other cities, including Mandalay, the second-biggest city, Myitkyina, the capital of the northern state of Kachin, Myeik in the far south, where police fired tear gas at students, and Dawei in the south-east, where tear gas was also used.

The protests came a day after a UN special envoy urged the Security Council to take action to quell junta violence that this past week left more than 50 peaceful demonstrators dead and scores injured.Loading

AP

#AceNewsDesk report ………..Published: Mar.07: 2021:

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