Myanmar restricts Twitter as outrage over coup grows

Myanmar restricts Twitter as outrage over coup grows

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Yangon: Myanmar lost access to Twitter on Friday night. This is the most recent move to stifle dissent because the military expanded the Internet ban for a few days after the coup d’état caused global condemnation and threats of new sanctions.

The de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and ousted on Monday. After a decade-long conflict with democracy, the country returned to military rule.

Facebook was the first platform to have problems on Wednesday. By Thursday, Myanmar users flocked to Twitter to mention the hashtag campaign against military coups millions of times.

But at around 15:00 local time (1530 GMT), they saw a decrease in Twitter traffic, and some people said that even using a VPN service could not use it.

Telenor, one of the country’s main telecoms providers, confirmed authorities had ordered a blockade Friday to Twitter and Instagram “until further notice”.

“Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive… and highlighted the directive’s contradiction with international human rights law,” the company said in a statement.

The Norway-based group added it was “gravely concerned” and emphasised that access to communications services should be maintained at all times.

According to a document by the ministry seen by AFP but not verified, Twitter and Instagram were being used to “cause misunderstanding among the public”.

NetBlocks, which monitors global Internet outages, confirmed that other Facebook products (such as Whatsapp) are also facing outages.

Friday also saw about 200 teachers and students protesting at Myanmar University, which is the largest public protest in the country to date.

The demonstrators displayed a three-finger salute borrowed from the Thai democracy movement and sang a popular revolutionary song.

Lecturer Win Win Maw told AFP: “We must resist this dictatorship.”

“If all civil servants participate in this sport, it will not be easy to operate this government system.”

Kyi Toe, the press officer of the NLD National News Network, said that Suu Kyi’s main assistant, Win Htein, was arrested at his daughter’s home a few hours before the rally.

The 79-year-old stalwart of the National League for Democracy is believed to be Suu Kyi’s right-hand man. He was detained for a long time for his anti-military rule movement.

Wintering spoke to the local media before his arrest, calling on the people of the country to “do all they can to oppose the coup.”

Although Suu Kyi has not appeared in public since being detained on Monday, Kyi Toe said that she is currently “under house arrest” in the country’s capital Naypyidaw and is “in good health”.

According to an organization in Yangon that monitors political arrests in Myanmar, more than 130 officials and parliamentarians have been detained according to the Association of Political Prisoners Assistance (AAPP)

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