Myanmar police detain Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi at anti-coup protest

Riot police march through the streets as protesters rally against the military coup in the northern town of Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, Myanmar.

Myanmar police detained a Japanese freelance journalist at a protest in the commercial capital of Yangon, a colleague said on Friday, in the first detention of a foreign reporter since the military coup on February 1.

Yuki Kitazumi, who runs a media production company and used to be a journalist for the Japanese business daily, the Nikkei, according to his Facebook page and interviews with online media, was arrested on Friday morning.

“According to witnesses, he was beaten on his head but he was wearing a helmet so it didn’t cause him much harm. I have contacted the embassy and haven’t heard much more information yet,” said Kitazumi’s Myanmar colleague Linn Nyan Htun in a Facebook post announcing his arrest.

“I didn’t witness it but I received a message from him via messenger app around 11:30 that he got arrested. After that I lost connection with him,” he said.

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told a regular news conference Japan was still trying to confirm the facts.

Kitazumi’s phone listed on the website of his production company was unreachable.

Myanmar has been roiled by protests for weeks since the army seized power from elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detained her and most of her government.

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