Tuesday, October 19

Myanmar blocks Facebook amid growing resistance to coup


Myanmar’s new military government has blocked access to Facebook as resistance to Monday’s coup mounted.

There were calls for civil disobedience to protest the overthrow of the elected civilian government and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Facebook is especially popular in Myanmar and the overthrown government used to make public announcements on the social media site.

Internet users said the outage started late Wednesday night and mobile service provider Telenor Myanmar confirmed in a statement that mobile operators and internet service providers in Myanmar had received a directive from the communications ministry. to temporarily block Facebook.

Telenor Myanmar, which is part of the Norwegian group Telenor, said it would comply, although it was concerned that the order was a violation of human rights.

“Myanmar telecom providers have been ordered to temporarily block Facebook. We urge the authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with family and friends and access important information, ”said a Facebook spokesperson.

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said those outside Myanmar must ensure that Monday’s coup fails.

He called the military action “unacceptable,” adding that its perpetrators must be shown that this is not how a country should be run.

The UN Security Council is discussing a possible statement, but China is expected to block any form of words condemning the coup.

But despite the UN envoy for Myanmar urging an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Tuesday to ensure that “democracy is quickly restored” in the Southeast Asian nation, the most powerful body of the United Nations does not took no immediate action.

A prepared statement was not issued because it requires the support of the 15 council members and the UN missions to China and Russia said they needed to send it to their capitals for review, said the diplomats, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting It was closed. China has close ties with Myanmar.

The political party toppled in Monday’s coup and other activists in Myanmar have called for a civil disobedience campaign to oppose the inauguration.

At the forefront are medical personnel, who have declared that they will not work for the military government and are highly respected for their work during the coronavirus pandemic that is putting pressure on the country’s already weak health system.

For the second night on Wednesday, Yangon residents engaged in “loud protests,” with people banging on pots and pans and honking car horns under cover of darkness.

And the recent protests have revived a song closely associated with the failed 1988 uprising against the military dictatorship.

Myanmar was under military rule for five decades after the 1962 coup, and Suu Kyi’s five years as leader are the most democratic.

Videos posted on social media showed medical personnel specially sung the song “Kabar Makyay Bu” (We will not be satisfied until the end of the world), which is sung to the tune of “Dust in the Wind” from 1977. Song by the American rock group Kansas.

The protest movement appeared to have received a boost from the government’s treatment of the popular Suu Kyi, who was arrested along with other government leaders on Monday.

Her party said Wednesday that she was being charged with possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies, believed to have been used by her bodyguards, who were found at her home in the capital, Naypyitaw.

The charge would allow him to legally keep her in custody until at least February 15. The ousted president, Win Myint, is being held on another charge. Suu Kyi is believed to remain under house arrest at her residence, where she was held after the army detained her.

The charge against Suu Kyi carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.


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