Journalists Among 70 Charged Over Protests in Myanmar

Myanmar journalists protest the government's jailing of their colleagues in Yangon, Myanmar, 12 July 2014. On 10 July, five journalists in Myanmar were sentenced to 10 years in jail each, charged with disclosing state secrets for publishing a report on an alleged chemical weapons factory in the country's central region. EPA/LYNN BO BO

YANGON (DPA) — Some 70 people, including 23 Myanmar journalists, were charged for protesting without permission, police said Monday.

The charge stemmed from a silent demonstration on Saturday against President Thein Sein as he met with celebrities in Yangon.

The protesters were charged under the Unlawful Assembly Act, according to police colonel Maung Maung Oo, and each faced up to three months in jail.

Some protesters wore T-shirts that said "Stop Killing Press," calling for the immediate release of five journalists who last week were sentenced to 10 years in jail. Those journalists were deemed to have violated state secrets by publishing a report on an alleged chemical weapons factory in the country's central region.

Last week, Myanmar police also charged three editors and a senior reporter with violating the Emergency Act for writing about an activist group that claimed opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians had been elected to form an interim government.

It marked the first time that Myanmar's current government had used the Emergency Act of 1950, a law that was widely employed by the former military junta to suppress opposition.