Myanmar’s nationwide internet blackout triggers protests’ surge

WION Web Team
Yangon, Myanmar Published: Feb 06, 2021, 12:45 PM(IST)

Protesters hold up the three-finger salute during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on Saturday. Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

In a bid to denounce the regime, young demonstrators spilled on to the streets, many donning red headbands -- the colour associated with ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party

In order to keep a tab on the growing protests against the country's new military regime, Myanmar junta has initiated a nationwide internet blackout.   

The development seems to have backfired as Myanmar witnessed its largest anti-coup protests yet on Saturday. 

In a bid to denounce the regime, young demonstrators spilled on to the streets, many donning red headbands -- the colour associated with ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's party.  

Around 1,000 demonstrators marched on a road near Yangon University, most holding up the three-finger salute that has come to symbolise resistance to the army takeover. The crowd yelled, "Down with the military dictatorship!"  

Also read | Myanmar restricts Twitter as outrage over coup grows

A large police contingent blocked nearby roads with two water cannon trucks parked at the scene.  

The march came as Myanmar was plunged into its second nationwide internet blackout this week, similar in magnitude to an earlier shutdown that coincided with the arrest of Suu Kyi and other senior leaders on Monday. 

Those dawn raids brought a sudden halt to Myanmar's brief 10-year experiment with democracy, and catalysed an outpouring of fury that has migrated from social media to the streets. 

Online calls to protest the army takeover have prompted increasingly bold displays of defiance against the new regime, including the nightly deafening clamour of people around the country banging pots and pans -- a practice traditionally associated with driving out evil. 

 

Some have shown their opposition by gathering for group photographs with banners decrying the coup and flashing a three-finger salute earlier adopted by democracy protesters in neighbouring Thailand. 

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said a special envoy to the country had made 'first contact' with Myanmar's deputy military commander to urge the junta to relinquish power to the civilian government it toppled. 

"We will do everything we can to make the international community united in making sure that conditions are created for this coup to be reversed," he told reporters on Friday.  

State media in Myanmar reported on Saturday that junta figures had spoken with diplomats the previous day to respond to an international outcry and asked them to work with the new leaders.  

"The Government understand the concerns of the international community on the continuation of Myanmar's democratic transition process," International Cooperation Minister Ko Ko Hlaing said in the meeting, according to the report. 

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