The CNN team is reporting with the permission of the military and is being escorted by the military, which sent six trucks carrying soldiers to monitor the team on its first day on the ground, and is sending several “minders” with the crew everywhere it goes.
The CNN team was invited to tour the Ten Miles bazaar in Yangon’s Insein Township on Friday. There, they were approached by residents who wished to be interviewed, including two women flashing the three-finger salute, which has become a symbol of the protest movement against the military junta.
The pair were arrested by a group of security officials within three to five minutes of the CNN team leaving the area, according to eyewitnesses. The women work at a shop in the market and were taken to the Shwe Pyi Thar Interrogation Center, sources close to the women said.
CNN toured a second market in the Mingaladon township on Friday afternoon, where several local residents approached the team. A man and woman were arrested after the interview. A relative of the two Mingaladon detainees approached the CNN team and told them what had happened. She was then also detained once the team moved away from the area.
Military spokesman Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun confirmed in an interview with CNN on Sunday that security forces had detained three people from the first market and eight others at the second after interacting with the team on the ground. When asked by CNN what crime they had committed, he admitted that they hadn’t broken the law.
“The security forces were worried they would provoke others and start the protest in the market, and that is why they got arrested,” Zaw Min Tun told CNN, adding that the military expressed “regret” over the arrests.
The military assured CNN it would be able to report independently and be given freedom of movement, but the journalists’ request to stay in a Yangon hotel was denied and the team has been staying in a walled military compound instead, given only intermittent and heavily controlled access to the public.
Minders sent by the military to monitor the CNN team have been taking down the names and filming anyone speaking to CNN, including those who were arrested shortly after interacting with the team at the markets.
The junta has cut all wireless internet services across the country until further notice, in what appears to be a concerted effort to control communications and messaging.
“I have been in politics in Myanmar for nearly 40 years, and in all these years I have not witnessed such shameless allegations” he said at the time. He added: “We are in country where the people have seen lots of corruption in the past and many misbehaviors, but Aung San Suu Kyi is not in that sphere of corruption.”
Human Rights Watch said Friday that the junta had “forcibly disappeared hundreds of people” — including politicians, election officials, journalists, activists and protesters since the coup.
According to AAPP, at least 2,667 people — among them journalists, protesters, activists, government officials, trade unionists, writers, students, civilians and even children — have been detained, many in night-time raids.
CNN’s Sandi Sidhu, Carly Walsh and Angela Dewan contributed to this report.