Journalists run from soldiers and police in Naypyitaw to avoid arrest as nationwide protests continue

Police and soldiers in Naypyitaw’s Pyinmana township tried once again to arrest journalists covering anti-coup protests on Wednesday, forcing them to flee to avoid capture. 

A group of about five reporters were covering a protest march in front of a public high school when security personnel told them to stop filming. “A [police truck] came, and while we were filming it another one arrived and they asked us what we were filming,” said one of the journalists.

One person from within the vehicle shouted “arrest them!” added the journalist, who requested anonymity. “We had to run.” One journalist dropped his video camera and had to leave it behind as he fled, while another cut himself when he fell over. 

“I was able to run into a house nearby,” another journalist told Myanmar Now. “We heard them say, ‘What are you shooting? Arrest them!’” 

In a similar incident on Monday security forces in the city aimed their guns at a group of journalists who were reporting on the massive 22222 general strike, in which millions participated across the country. The journalists ran away to evade arrest. 

Wednesday’s protests – which were relatively subdued compared to Monday’s enormous turnout – were the 19th consecutive day of demonstrations against the military regime.

The day passed with little violence against protesters despite recent threats broadcast on MRTV that people out on the streets could “suffer the loss of life”. 

Min Aung Hlaing’s regime, which has been hobbled by nationwide work stoppages, has threatened to withdraw publishing licenses from media outlets that refer to his illegal February 1 power grab as a coup.  

Twenty-four of the 26 members of the Myanmar Press Council have resigned since the coup, saying they were unable to protect press freedom and uphold media ethics under a military regime. 

Security forces block the road in front of the Japan Embassy on Wednesday (Myanmar Now)

In Yangon on Wednesday police charged with their shields raised at a crowd of around 20 protesters who were demonstrating in front of the Japanese embassy on Natmauk road in Tamwe township, forcing them to flee. 

A police officer had earlier warned reporters covering the protest that “the situation is not good – you shouldn’t stay around here.” 

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