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Dozens of Myanmar protesters who were trapped overnight by security forces have now fled the premises.

Around 200 people in a district of Yangon had on Monday been blocked from leaving a four-street area in the Sanchaung area of the city on Monday.

Of this, at least 40 people were arrested and taken away overnight, a local resident told BBC News.

Others managed to escape in the quiet hours of the night as police numbers dwindled.

Mass protests have been seen across the South-east Asian nation since the military seized power on 1 February in a coup.

At least 54 people have died in the protests, which are calling for an end to military rule and the release of the country’s elected government leaders — including Aung San Suu Kyi — who were overthrown and detained in the coup.

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According to United Nations (UN) chief Antonio Guterres, many of those trapped on Monday had been women who were marching in support of International Women’s Day.

The UN had appealed to the military for their “safe release”, with Mr Guterres urging “maximum restraint”.

Early on Tuesday, one protester told the BBC that he was able to leave at around 06:30 local time (00:00 GMT). He said security forces had left the area early in the morning.

He added that 40 people were arrested overnight, but the rest of them remained hidden until the morning and were able to leave.

Another protester tweeted on Tuesday morning that she had “arrived home safe…[after being] at a place in Sanchaung the entire night”, adding that “all who were hiding with me are safe”.

‘Free the students’
Myanmar police had on Monday been raiding houses in the area looking for people who were from outside the district.

Residents and a local news service claimed on Facebook that at least 20 people had been arrested in the raids.

Reports later emerged that security forces had surrounded a group of young people in the Sanchaung neighbourhood — with explosions heard from the area.

Many protesters, who had nowhere to turn to, were taken in by local residents. Others were trapped.

Activist Maung Saungkha said on Twitter late on Monday that she managed to “escape” Sanchaung, but added that “almost 200 young protesters are blocked by police and soldiers there”.

In Yangon, huge numbers of people gathered on the streets, defying a curfew, in an attempt to distract security forces. They were heard chanting: “Free the students in Sanchaung.”

Security forces fired guns and used stun grenades in an attempt to disperse them, Reuters news agency reports.

It’s thought that three people died in demonstrations across the country on Monday.

Protesters have been taking to the streets for the past month calling for an end to military rule and the release of the country’s elected government leaders — including Aung San Suu Kyi — who were overthrown and detained in the coup.

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Separately on Monday, the military government revoked the publishing licenses of five local news outlets — Mizzima, DVB, Khit Thit Media, Myanmar Now and 7Day News — that had been widely covering the protests.

In a statement on Facebook, Mizzima said it would defy this ban, adding that it would “continue to fight against the military coup by publishing and broadcasting through multimedia platforms”.

Just before the government’s announcement, Myanmar Now reported that its office in downtown Yangon had been raided by soldiers and police.

They added that computers, printers and parts of the newsroom’s data server had been seized. One of the news agency’s reporters was arrested while livestreaming a protest in Yangon last month.

An official from Aung San Suu Kyi’s party has died in custody in Myanmar after being arrested during raids by security forces in Yangon.

On Sunday the body of U Khin Maung Latt was released to his family, who were reportedly told that he had died after fainting.

Photos show a bloodstained cloth around the 58-year-old’s head.

Activists say he was beaten while being detained by police and soldiers, and subjected to a harsh interrogation.

Protests continue against last month’s coup despite a bloody crackdown.

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The young rebels risking their lives for the future
The UN says more than 50 people have been killed since the military detained Ms Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s democratically elected leader, on 1 February.

The authorities have exhumed the body of one victim, 19-year-old Kyal Sin, and said she had not been killed by police as she had been shot from behind.

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In another development, the military rulers asked neighbouring India to return several police officers who had crossed the border seeking refuge after refusing to carry out orders.

How did U Khin Maung Latt die?
He actively campaigned for candidates of Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) in recent general elections and was also known for his welfare work, The Irawaddy reports.

He had been “violently beaten and kicked before being taken from his home” at around 22:00 (15:30 GMT) on Saturday, according to witnesses quoted by the news outlet.

On Sunday morning, his family was informed he had died after “fainting” and they collected his body from a military hospital.

U Tun Kyi, from the Former Political Prisoners Society, told AFP news agency: “He was beaten and taken in a raid since last night and it seems he underwent a harsh interrogation.”

On Friday, an NLD local official in a village in Magwe region, U Htway Naing, was reportedly hacked to death by supporters of the military.

In Yangon, police carried out other night-time raids on Saturday.

The UN special rapporteur, Tom Andrews, told the BBC that video from different parts of Myanmar showed security forces firing repeatedly at buildings as they made arrests.

“And you can see them walking down the streets in Yangon, firing up through the windows as people look in horror down on the streets,” he said.

“These are gangs. This is criminal activity. They’re terrorising these neighbourhoods. So there is a compelling reason for the world to act and for the world to act now.”

Where are the latest protests happening?
Security forces fired tear gas on Sunday in the country’s second biggest city, Mandalay, after thousands of protesters turned out.

Demonstrations were also held in half a dozen other cities, Reuters news reports, with police using force against protesters in Yangon, Lashio and Bagan.

In the southern town of Dawei, one protest leader was quoted by Reuters as saying: “They are killing people just like killing birds and chickens. What will we do if we don’t revolt against them? We must revolt.”

Myanmar in profile
Myanmar, also known as Burma, became independent from Britain in 1948. For much of its modern history it has been under military rule
Restrictions began loosening from 2010 onwards, leading to free elections in 2015 and the installation of a government led by veteran opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi the following year
In 2017, Myanmar’s army responded to attacks on police by Rohingya militants with a deadly crackdown, driving more than half a million Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh in what the UN later called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”