Myanmar junta blocks Facebook, clamping down on opposition to coup

Jannie Delucca

(Reuters) – Myanmar’s junta blocked Fb on Thursday, seeking to shut off an essential channel for opposition to this week’s military services coup as sporadic protests flared.

Armed service ruler Basic Min Aung Hlaing has moved rapidly to consolidate his hold immediately after overthrowing elected chief Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining her and allied politicians on Monday.

He told a company team on Wednesday he could continue to keep power for six months soon after a a single-year condition of emergency finishes in order to keep what he explained he would be good elections.

But in a exhibit of defiance to the generals, a team of the lawmakers elected in a Nov. 8 ballot convened a symbolic parliamentary session in the quarters where they have been keeping due to the fact the takeover.

Little protests took area in the principal metropolis Yangon and elsewhere, with activists expressing 3 protesters experienced been arrested – among all over 150 men and women who have been detained given that the coup, according to a single legal rights team.

Medical doctors were being also spearheading a marketing campaign of civil disobedience.

But in a state with a bloody record of crackdowns on demonstrations, there was no mass outpouring of opposition on the streets.

The military seized electrical power on Monday alleging irregularities in the election, derailing Myanmar’s lengthy and troubled transition to democracy. The move was condemned by Western governments, who have urged the junta to regard Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy’s landslide victory.

The U.N. Safety Council referred to as on Thursday for the launch of Suu Kyi and other detainees, and voiced worry in excess of the point out of emergency. But it stopped small of condemning the coup.

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Council associates include things like China and Russia, who have customarily shielded Myanmar from substantial council motion. China also has a significant economic desire in Myanmar.

Opposition to the junta has emerged strongly on Facebook, Myanmar’s key social media platform, such as for small business and authorities.

The Ministry of Communications and Data mentioned Facebook would be blocked till this Sunday, Feb. 7, because consumers ended up “spreading bogus news and misinformation and producing misunderstanding”. Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging was also blocked.

Facebook was continue to out there sporadically and demonstrators in the second metropolis of Mandalay applied it to livestream the initially road protest because the coup.

“People’s protest towards army coup,” browse just one banner.

The group of all over 20 folks chanted: “Our arrested leaders, release now, launch now.”

A few persons had been arrested following the protest, university student groups reported. Reuters was not able to call law enforcement for remark.

A dozen or so individuals also staged a protest in the key city of Yangon but dispersed immediately.

At minimum 147 individuals have been detained since the coup, which includes activists, lawmakers and officers from Suu Kyi’s authorities, the Help Affiliation for Political Prisoners (AAPP) reported.


Employees at some authorities hospitals stopped do the job on Wednesday or wore ribbons in the NLD’s red color. In reaction, the army mentioned men and women could get treatment in armed service hospitals.

Shots shared on Wednesday showed personnel at the agriculture ministry becoming a member of the campaign of disobedience.

Other signals of anger have emerged. For a 3rd evening, people in Yangon and other cities banged on pots and pans and honked auto horns. In Yangon, streets resounded to the audio of clapping at 5 p.m. (1030 GMT) by coup opponents.

“Lights are shining in the dim,” said Min Ko Naing, a veteran of earlier campaigns versus armed service rule, in a contact to motion. “We have to have to clearly show how a lot of folks are towards this unfair coup.”

Suu Kyi, 75, has not been witnessed because her arrest along with other celebration leaders. Police have filed costs in opposition to her of illegally importing and applying six walkie-talkie radios discovered at her home and she has been detained right until Feb. 15.

The daughter of the former British colony’s independence hero Aung San and the longtime leader of its democracy movement, Suu Kyi spent about 15 years beneath home arrest concerning 1989 and 2010. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

She stays vastly common at house in spite of problems to her international standing more than the plight of Muslim Rohingya refugees.

The new junta has declared a just one-yr point out of emergency, but Min Aung Hlaing advised a company team he could stay on beyond that.

“The army experienced to just take demand for numerous causes, but will not go outside of the democratic path,” he was quoted as stating by pro-military Persons Media.

The NLD received about 80% of the parliament seats in the November election and trounced a professional-armed service party, in accordance to the election commission. The military refused to acknowledge the consequence, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

The United Nations explained it would stage up intercontinental strain to guarantee the will of the persons is highly regarded. Washington explained it was examining probable sanctions.

Norway’s Telenor Asa, Myanmar’s leading cell network operator, stated it experienced to comply with the directive to block Facebook but did not believe the request was centered on requirement in accordance with global
human rights law.

Reporting by Reuters personnel Writing by Matthew Tostevin, Rosalba O’Brien and Stephen Coates enhancing by Lincoln Feast and Angus MacSwan

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