asia

Myanmar military blocks internet for third consecutive night amid protests


Myanmar experienced another night of internet blackout as the net continued to be shut for the third consecutive day on Wednesday as protests continued against the military junta’s coup.

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Opponents of Myanmar’s military coup called for big protests on Wednesday to show that the army’s claim of widespread public support amid charges against leader Aung San Suu Kyi who has been detained since February 1 when the military took control of the country in an early morning coup.

Suu Kyi faces charge of violating the Natural Disaster Management Law as well as charges of illegally importing six walkie talkie radios. Her case was held by video conference on Tuesday, her next hearing was set for March 1.

“Let’s gather in millions to take down the dictators,” wrote activist Khin Sandar on Facebook.

Kyi Toe, a senior member of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party who has not yet been arrested, said “let’s march en masse. Let’s show our force against the coup government that has destroyed the future of youth, the future of our country.”

The Army’s takeover has drawn strong Western criticism with renewed anger from the United States and the UK over additional charge for Suu Kyi. Although China has dismissed accusations it supported the coup.

Hundreds of people have been rounded up by the army since the coup many of them in night-time raids. Those arrested include several top NLD’s senior leadership.

Reports say at least 450 people have been arrested since the coup earlier this month. A third night of internet blackout meant no news emerged of any arrests early on Wednesday.

The army had alleging voter fraud in the November 8 election which was rejected by the electoral  commission. The military has declared a state of emergency for one year after taking over power.

“Our objective is to hold an election and hand power to the winning party,” Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun, spokesman for the ruling council, told the junta’s first news conference since overthrowing Suu Kyi’s government. 

General Tun gave no time frame but said the army will not be in power for long.

The last stretch of army rule lasted nearly half a century before democratic reforms in 2011.



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