Myanmar Military Coup Leaders Shut Social Media to Suppress Further Protests

  February 06, 2021   News ID 1829
Myanmar Military Coup Leaders Shut Social Media to Suppress Further Protests
Myanmar coup: Junta extends social media ban to Twitter and Instagram as protests spread;

Myanmar, SAEDNEWS, Feb. 6: The military authorities in charge of Myanmar broadened a ban on social media following this week’s coup, shutting access to Twitter and Instagram, while street protests continued to expand Saturday as people gathered again to show their opposition to the army takeover.

Several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday in the streets of Yangon, the country's biggest city, in the largest gathering since the military takeover.

"Down with the military dictatorship," they chanted, many wearing red scarves and wristbands, the colours of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party of Aung San Suu Kyi, arrested on Monday.

Factory workers and students were prominent among the protesters who marched near a university in Myanmar's economic capital. By noon, more than 100 police in riot gear had been deployed to block them from moving ahead.

The protesters numbered around 3,000, AFP estimated. It was the boldest showing yet in the city by those opposed to the military takeover and appears to indicate a growing willingness to confront the new regime head-on.

Graduate lawyers from Myanmar's Yadanabon University on Saturday became the country's latest civil society group to show their opposition to the military coup against Suu Kyi's government.

Posing for a picture, more than two dozen lawyers donned red ribbons and showed the three-fingered protest salute. They held a banner reading: "We condemn the unlawful coup; No to dictatorship."

In addition to Facebook and related apps, the military government on Friday ordered communications operators and internet service providers to cut access to Twitter and Instagram. The statement said that some people are trying to use both platforms to spread fake news.

Social media users expressed concern over unconfirmed reports that all internet access might soon be cut off, at least through the weekend. Some say they had lost service on their mobile networks.

Netblocks, which tracks social media disruptions and shutdowns, confirmed the loss of Twitter service starting 10 p.m. Instagram was already subject to restrictions.

In a statement, Twitter said it is “deeply concerned” about the order to block internet services in Myanmar and vowed to “advocate to end destructive government-led shutdowns.”

“It undermines the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard,” its spokesperson said.

State media are heavily censored and Facebook in particular has become the main source of news and information in the country. It is also used to organize protests.

For the fourth night Friday, the cacophony of noise from windows and balconies reverberated through Yangon neighborhoods, as resistance to the coup and arrests of activists and politicians gathered steam (Source: Euronews).

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