Myanmar Coup: Protests SWELL despite military government’s social media blockade

Myanmar’s military government blocks Twitter and Instagram in bid to supress an online protest movement against this week’s military coup.

Norwegian Telenor, one of Myanmar’s largest internet service provider said it received an order to deny access to the two sites “until further notice”.

Telenor expressed “grave concern” at the move and said it had “challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive… and highlighted the directive’s contradiction with international human rights law”.

A spokeswoman for Twitter said it had undermined “the public conversation and the rights of people to make their voices heard”, Reuters reports.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, called on the Myanmar authorities to “restore connectivity so that people… can communicate with family and friends and access important information”.

The coup leaders had already temporary¬†blocked Facebook on Thursday for the sake of “stability”.

Demand for VPNs has soared in Myanmar, allowing some people to evade the ban, but users reported total internet shutdown.

Protests Continue:

Myanmar, which is also known as Burma, has remained mostly calm in the aftermath of the coup.

But there have been a number of demonstrations in different parts of the country, with residents in some cities conducting nightly protests from their homes, banging pots and pans and singing revolutionary songs. There have also been daytime flash mobs.

On Friday, hundreds of people rallied in Myanmar’s main city, Yangon, to protest against this week’s military coup.

“Military dictator, fail, fail; Democracy, win, win,” chanted the crowd, the largest protest seen since the military took over.

Hundreds of students and teachers displayed the three-finger salute – a sign that has been adopted by protesters in the region to show their opposition to authoritarian rule.

They called for release of the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained by the army.

The protest came despite the military’s efforts to stop people mobilising by shutting down social media.

Military Justify Coup:

The coup took place as a new session of parliament was set to open. The military declared a year-long state of emergency and handed over power to Commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

In the November 8 general elections, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, NLD won 83% of available seats. But the military disputed the election results.

The fears of coup rose after the election commission rejected the military’s allegations of fraud elections.

This was just the second election since the end of military rule in 2011.