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U.S. calls for release of AP journalist, five others charged in Myanmar

FILE PHOTO: U.S. State Department Spokesman Ned Price speaks to reporters during a news briefing at the State Department in Washington, U.S., March 1, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/Pool

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday called on military authorities in Myanmar to release an Associated Press journalist and five other members of the media detained while covering demonstrations against a military coup.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said he was “appalled and revulsed” by reports and images of a crackdown on protesters, in which Myanmar security forces killed at least 38 people on Wednesday.

Thein Zaw, 32, a Burmese journalist for U.S. newswire the Associated Press, was among six journalists who were detained during the protests and charged with violating a public order law, according to their lawyer.

“We are deeply concerned about the increasing attacks on and arrests of journalists,” said Price. “We call on the military to immediately release these individuals and to cease intimidation and harassment of the media and others unjustly detained merely for doing their jobs.”

Price said the United States, which has already sanctioned the coup leaders and some military companies, was considering further policy measures to hold the Myanmar military accountable, while attempting to rally an international response.

“We call on all countries to speak with one voice to condemn brutal violence by the Burmese military against its own people and to promote accountability for the military’s actions that have led to the loss of life of so many people in Burma,” said Price.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Doina Chiacu and Simon Lewis; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell

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