Myanmar Military Blocks Access to Facebook as Resistance to Coup Grows

Police stand guard as they wait for protests against coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Feb. 4, 2021. (Photo Reuters)

(VOA News) – The Ministry of Communications and Information issued a statement saying the social media giant would be blocked until Sunday in order to keep “stability” in the country.

Telenor Myanmar, the country’s leading mobile network operator, confirmed it had been ordered to block Facebook, but said it “does not believe that the request is based on necessity and proportionality, in accordance with international human rights law.”

The U.S.-based company urged Myanmar’s military leaders to “restore connectivity” in order to ensure citizens “can communicate with family and friends and access important information.”

Facebook is the most popular social media platform in Myanmar, used by civilians and military leaders alike.

A woman clatters pans to make noise after calls for protest went out on social media in Yangon as Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was formally charged two days after she was detained in a military coup.

A woman clatters pans to make noise after calls for protest went out on social media in Yangon as Myanmar’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi was formally charged two days after she was detained in a military coup.

People in Myanmar angry over the takeover have taken to Facebook to post images and livestream various protests.  Residents in Yangon and other cities have taken to the streets for two consecutive nights to bang on pots and pans and honk car horns to protest the coup.

Growing condemnation

The U.N. Security Council, which often struggles to reach consensus, issued a united statement Thursday expressing “deep concern” at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed by the military. The 15-members, which include Myanmar’s patron, China, also called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and others who have been detained.

“The members of the Security Council emphasized the need for the continued support of the democratic transition in Myanmar,” said council president Ambassador Barbara Woodward of Britain in reading out the statement. “They stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”

Early Friday, Win Htein, a key aide of Aung San Suu Kyi, “was arrested at his daughter’s home” and being driven from Yangon to Naypyidaw, NLD spokesperson Kyi Toe wrote on Facebook, according to media reports.

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About Cholo Brooks 13020 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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