Myanmar lifts curfew imposed after protests

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YANGON, Oct 20 (Reuters) Myanmar's military junta lifted a curfew in the country's main city Yangon today which was imposed last month after mass protests that prompted a crackdown.

The announcement was made by loudspeaker trucks driving through the streets of Yangon. It was not clear if a ban on assembly of more than five people had also been relaxed.

The curfew was imposed on September 25, when the military began its crackdown on peaceful monk-led protests against 45 years of army rule in the southeast Asian nation.

The junta had reduced the curfew to just four hours a week ago, but arrests of opponents continued despite international pressure for talks with the opposition.

The ruling generals also restored public Internet access when the curfew was reduced, more than two weeks after cutting Web connections to stem the flow of images of the protests to the outside world.

The curfew was initially from 9 p m to 5 a m (local time, then cut by two hours and then reduced to 11 p m to 3 a m before being finally lifted.

A ban on gatherings of more than five people had also been imposed, but it was not clear if this had been lifted on Saturday as well as the curfew.

REUTERS AE RN2027

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