Tens of thousands of protesters protested the coup in Myanmar despite the Internet cut

Tens of thousands of protesters protested the coup in Myanmar despite the Internet cut


Tens of thousands took to the streets of Myanmar’s cities on Saturday to condemn the coup this week and demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, despite the governing government blockade of the Internet , according to Reuters.

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In rising anger in the country’s biggest city, Yangon, protesters chanted: “Military dictator – failure, failure; Democracy – victory, victory “ and holding banners with content “Against the military dictatorship”. Bystanders on both sides of the road invited the protesters to eat and drink.

Many in the crowd wore red – the color of Suu Kyi’s National Coalition for Democracy (NLD) party. The NLD had an overwhelming victory in the November 8 election last year, but the military refused to recognize the election results, claiming there had been fraud.

Thousands of people paraded to Yangon City Hall. The drivers sounded their horns, leaned out of the car and greeted each other with three fingers, a protest symbol of protesters. Some of them raised the NLD’s flag or a picture of Ms. Suu Kyi.

By evening, most of the protesters had dispersed. However, residents began to express their protests by knocking on pots, pans, pans, empty barrels or whatever makes a sound, even when power cuts affect many districts of the city.

In the city of Mandalay and the capital Naypyidaw (built by the army and government agencies), thousands of people also took to the streets to protest, shouting slogans against the coup and calling for the release of Ms. Suu. Kyi.

Protests intensified despite the new government’s order to block the Internet. Before that, social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other messaging apps were blocked from accessing. Currently, the TV only broadcasts MRTV’s state-run television station with content praising the military.

The new administration did not respond to a Reuters request for comment on the Internet ban to silence dissenting voices.

Before this move, Facebook has called on Myanmar authorities to unblock the social network.

“At this sensitive time, Burmese people need access to important information and they need to be in touch with relatives”, Facebook’s head of public policy in emerging Asia-Pacific countries, Rafael Frankel, said in a statement.

The United Nations Human Rights Office wrote on Twitter that “Internet and communications services must be fully restored to ensure citizens’ freedom of speech and access to information.”

Norwegian mobile carrier Telenor ASA said authorities had ordered all mobile operators to temporarily shut down data networks, even though voice and SMS services remained open.

Myanmar civil society groups have appealed to Internet providers against the military’s orders. In a joint statement, they said that if the internet providers didn’t do so, they “basically helped legitimize the military’s power.”

Carrier Telenor said it “regrets” the impact of the Internet being blocked, but “We are bound by local law and our first priority is the safety of the local workers.”

Army commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who is currently temporarily in charge of the country, has accused the election of fraudulently, although the election commission denies this.

The new administration has declared a year-long emergency and promised to hand over power after new elections without giving a specific timeframe.

Ms. Suu Kyi, 75, Nobel Peace Prize winner has been charged with illegally importing six radios; while ousted President Win Myint is accused of not complying with epidemic prevention requirements while campaigning for the election. The sentence that both face is 3 years in prison. Many sources said they are being held in private homes.

The Australian government said it had summoned the Myanmar ambassador to express “deep concern” about the arbitrary arrest of Australians and other foreign nationals in Myanmar.

A civil disobedience movement has been initiated in Myanmar during the past week. Many doctors and teachers went on strike to protest. Every night, people gather to break pots and pans to express their dissatisfaction.

Protesters in Yangon will continue to protest this Sunday.

Some pictures of the demonstration:

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Le Xuan (Reuters)

See more:

  • Myanmar authorities blocked Facebook to ensure “political stability”

  • The influence of Myanmar’s military in US-China relations

  • Analysis: Who was really behind the military coup event in Myanmar?

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