Burmese police briefly detain three journalists covering protest; two demonstrators still held

alerts-button.jpgBurmese police briefly detained three local journalists who were covering a protest in the former capital city Rangoon at about 3:00 p.m. (local time) on 22 February 2007, reports Mizzima News, a SEAPA partner based in New Delhi.

About 20 demonstrators were protesting outside the Rangoon City Hall over the high inflation rate, sky-rocketing commodities prices, increasing unemployment and corruption when police arrested journalists Myat Thura from Kyodo news agency, Daw Sint Sint Aung from Nippon TV and May Thagyan Hein from “Myanmar Dhana” economic magazine.

Two protesters, Htin Kyaw and Myint Shwe, were also detained, according to Mizzima News.

The journalists were released at 9:30 p.m. from Aung Tha Pyay Special Branch police guest house.

Freedoms of assembly, speech and the press are limited by law and in practice in Burma, which has been ruled by the military since 1962. Demonstrations are illegal and participants would be severely dealt with, especially when they are protesting against the junta. The junta has arrested, detained, convicted and imprisoned citizens for criticising it or for expressing differing views. Security personnel also monitor and harass those suspected to harbour opposition views.

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