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Prayers at a protest against electricity shortage

People pray during a protest against the shortage of electricity, at the Sule Pagoda in central Yangon, Myanmar on May 24. People staged another peaceful protest at the heart of the commercial city of Yangon against power blackouts across the country.
People pray during a protest against the shortage of electricity, at the Sule Pagoda in central Yangon, Myanmar on May 24. People staged another peaceful protest at the heart of the commercial city of Yangon against power blackouts across the country.Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Reuters reports -- Myanmar police broke up a demonstration against power cuts by hundreds of people in the town of Pyi on Thursday and briefly held five people for questioning as protesters tested the limits of democratic changes for a fifth day.

Among those detained in Pyi was a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National league for Democracy (NLD) party and four activists from a human rights organization, who were later freed, NLD officials and members said.

Several NLD members were also detained in the early hours in the city of Mandalay, where protests over electricity outages started on Sunday before spreading to several urban centers, including the commercial capital, Yangon.

The protests come as citizens, including some workers on strike over pay in industrial zones in Yangon, test the boundaries of broad changes that have taken place in the past year in Myanmar.

Until now, security forces have allowed the peaceful demonstrations to go ahead and the civilian government, which took over from a repressive junta in March last year and has eased restrictions on demonstrations, has promised emergency measures to increase the electricity supply.

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