Myanmar Military Junta Cuts Off Internet

Myanmar protesters are facing the armed police during the demonstration on Feb 14, 2021. (AFP)



Myanmar cut internet service and deployed troops around the country on Monday


In signs of a feared crackdown on anti-coup protests, hours after security forces fired in order to disperse a demonstration in the country's north the network providers pushed the button depriving the majority of the country access to the websites and social media apps.

The junta has recently escalated efforts to quell a burgeoning civil disobedience campaign which is demanding a return of the country's ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Monday's internet shutdown came soon after live-stream images shared on social media platforms showed military vehicles and soldiers moving through some parts of the country.

Monitoring group Netblocks said the "state-ordered information blackout" had taken Myanmar almost entirely offline.

Troops in Myitkyina fired tear gas then shot at a crowd who gathered in the northern city to stop a rumoured shutdown of the electricity grid. A journalist at the scene said it was unclear whether police had used rubber bullets or live rounds. Local media outlets said at least five journalists monitoring the protest had been detained and published pictures of some people wounded in the incident.

A joint statement from the US, British and European Union ambassadors urged security forces not to harm civilians.

"We call on security forces to refrain from violence against demonstrators, who are protesting the overthrow of their legitimate government," they said.

The US embassy advised American citizens to shelter in place and not risk defying an overnight curfew imposed by the regime.

UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews said the junta efforts to rein in the country's burgeoning protest movement was a sign of "desperation" and amounted to a declaration of war against its own people.


Crackdown on the protesters against the coup

An internet blackout last weekend failed to quell resistance that has seen huge crowds throng big urban centres and isolated frontier villages alike.

Striking workers who spearheaded the campaign are among at least 400 people to have been detained since the coup, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners monitoring group said.

But fear of arrest did not deter big crowds from returning to streets around the country for a ninth straight day of street protests on Sunday.

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