Myanmar protests: BBC journalist captured by strangers freed – 22/03/2021 – Worldwide

BBC journalist Aung Thura, who was arrested in Myanmar last week while covering the country’s military coup, was released on Monday.

Thura, who works for the BBC’s Burmese service, was taken away by men in civilian clothes as he appeared in court in the country’s capital, Naypyitaw.

Forty journalists have been arrested since the civilian government was overthrown in a military coup on February 1.

The military also revoked the licenses of five media companies.

Aung Thura was taken away with another journalist, Than Htike Aung, who works for the local news agency Mizzima and who had her business license revoked by the military government earlier this month.

The men who arrested the reporters arrived in an unmarked van around noon local time. The BBC was unable to contact him afterwards.

The BBC confirmed his release on Monday, but gave no further details.

According to the UN, at least 149 people have died in civil disobedience, although the actual number is believed to be much higher. One of the bloodiest days was March 14, when 38 people were confirmed dead.

The weekend also saw new protests with several people killed, according to reports.

A man was reportedly shot dead in the central town of Monywa and casualties were also reported in the country’s second largest city, Mandalay.

Protesters across the country staged nightly candlelight protests over the weekend and in some areas joined with Buddhist monks holding candles.

More protests were expected on Monday, especially in Myanmar’s largest city, Rangoon.

However, a joint statement by the embassies of the European Union, the United States and the United Kingdom condemned “brutal violence against unarmed civilians by the security forces”.

The statement called on the military to suspend martial law, release detainees, end the state of emergency and restore democracy.

Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has since criticized the military’s use of lethal force and called for “a path to peaceful solutions”.

He echoed Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s call for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to hold a summit on the situation in Myanmar.

Myanmar history

– Myanmar became independent from Great Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history, it was under military rule

– Restrictions began to ease from 2010, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year.

– In 2017, the Burmese army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with strong repression, causing death and pushing more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh, in which the UN later called it a “classic example of”. ethnic cleansing “

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