Journalists have planned a protest in downtown Yangon on Sunday, September 16, to demand the release of two recently convicted journalists; the demonstration is set to go ahead despite a ban on public gatherings announced late in 2017 to preserve public order. On Thursday, September 13, local authorities met with protest organizers to discourage them from holding the demonstration, originally scheduled to take place at Maha Bandula Park from 16:00 (local time) to 18:00. However, organizers maintained their right to assemble and have stated that if necessary, alternative demonstrations may be held in the streets of Yangon. A heightened security presence and localized transportations are expected near all demonstration sites. Clashes between protesters and police cannot be ruled out.
On September 3, a court in Yangon convicted two journalists of breaking Myanmar's Official Secrets Act and gave each a seven-year prison sentence. Both men have maintained that they are innocent and were set up by the police. Following the verdict, numerous international media organizations rejected the ruling.
Individuals in Yangon should monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant, and avoid all public gatherings.
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