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Fears grow in Myanmar as military junta orders internet shutdown

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PHOTO: Flickr / the foreign photographer - ฝรั่งถ่

Pro-democracy activists in Myanmar are desperately trying to find alternative communication channels as the country’s internet blackout worsens. On Thursday, the military ordered internet providers to cut off wireless broadband access, despite businesses in the country calling for a halt to the ongoing disruption to service.

Internet provider Ooredoo texted customers to inform them that the Burmese military has issued an instruction that all wireless services be suspended. The junta has imposed several restrictions on Myanmar since seizing power in a February 1 coup. There has already been a total data blackout on two occasions since then, with access to various social media platforms and websites blocked. Internet access is shut down at night and mobile internet access is also banned.

The situation in Myanmar has rapidly deteriorated since the coup ousted the democratically-elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. According to a Bangkok Post report, there are now concerns that an internet blackout will lead to more violence from the military, away from the public eye. The report says that the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners has recorded 536 people killed so far, with dozens of children among the dead. 2,729 people have been detained.

Meanwhile, prior to the blackout, anxious residents took to social media in their droves, posting about their worries over the impending shutdown. Some mentioned independent radio stations as the only way to keep up the pressure, with one young woman urging people not to forget about the country.

Pro-democracy activists began sharing information on various radio frequencies and apps that work without a data connection. One anti-coup protest leader, named as Khin Sadar, posted on Facebook prior to the blackout, calling for impromptu street protests that will disperse as soon as the army appears.

“Do as many guerrilla strikes as you can. Please join. Let’s listen to the radio again. Let’s make phone calls to each other too.”

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Wayno

    Saturday, April 3, 2021 at 7:51 pm

    People of Myanmar-May your God be with you and keep you safe in these shocking times

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