After the putsch, online censorship. Access to Twitter was restricted on Friday evening in Burma, a new measure targeting social networks in an attempt to silence the protest that is intensifying in this country after the military coup that overthrew the civilian government Aung San Suu Kyi.
Already on Wednesday, the army had ordered access providers to block access to Facebook, the gateway to the Internet for millions of Burmese, where “civil disobedience” groups have been created. His services were still disrupted on Friday.
As a result, many users were on Twitter and the hashtags #HearthevoiceofMyanmar, #RespectOurVotes were used millions of times, especially by several Burmese celebrities. But around 10 p.m. local time on Friday (4:30 p.m. in Paris), they in turn saw their access to Twitter restricted.
Disruptions on WhatsApp and Instagram
The consultation of “Twitter is now restricted to #Myanmar (in Burma, editor’s note) by several access providers,” announced NetBlocks, a non-governmental organization that monitors Internet shutdowns around the world. Other Facebook services, like WhatsApp and Instagram, were also experiencing disruptions.
Twitter and Instagram were used to “spread incitement and fake news, according to a document from the Ministry of Transport and Communications. […] causing misunderstandings among the public ”.
“In the interest of the public and the stability of the country, Instagram and Twitter will be temporarily blocked until further notice from February 5,” said this document.
As the army stepped up arrests, hundreds of people demonstrated in Rangoon on Friday. Professors and students gathered in front of Dagon University for the first major demonstration against the putsch.
Dozens of civil servants have stopped work in several ministries and 300 deputies have organized a virtual session to denounce the takeover of parliament.
Mobilized to “cast out demons”
At nightfall, residents of Rangoon once again honked their horns and banged on saucepans to “drive out demons”, the military.
About twenty people who had expressed their discontent the day before were sentenced to seven days in detention. Four students were charged with demonstrating.
Win Htein, 79, a friend of Aung San Suu Kyi, was arrested at dawn on Friday, according to their party, the National League for Democracy (LND). This party veteran spent more than twenty years in junta detention, from 1989 to 2010.
In all, nearly 150 politicians and activists have been detained since the coup, according to the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners, which is based in Yangon. The putsch also has its supporters in the country, several hundred of whom gathered in Naypyidaw on Thursday.
An army that has all the powers
The head of the army, Min Aung Hlaing, who now concentrates most of the powers, explained his passage in force by alleging that there had been fraud in the legislative elections of November, massively won by the LND.
In reality, the generals feared to see their influence diminish after the victory of the NLD, which could have wanted to modify a Constitution very favorable to the military, analysts say.
Min Aung Hlaing, an international outcast since the army’s abuses against the Rohingyas and close to retirement, also overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi out of political ambition, according to these experts. The military established a state of emergency for one year and promised elections at the end of this period.
Aung San Suu Kyi has been indicted for breaking an obscure trade rule and is “under house arrest” in the capital Naypyidaw, “in good health,” according to a spokesperson for the NLD.
US President Joe Biden has urged generals to “relinquish power” with his government considering “targeted sanctions” against some. In contrast, the UN softened the tone. The Security Council adopted a joint declaration calling for the release of the detainees, but did not formally condemn the coup.
Chinese and Russians are indeed opposed to such a position. China remains Burma’s main support at the United Nations, where it thwarted any initiative against the military during the Rohingya Muslim crisis.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr