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No Twitter or Instagram, US Sanction Threat: Days After Coup, What's Happening in Myanmar

File photo:  A portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn is seen as pro-democracy demonstrators give a three-finger salute while marching during a Thai anti-government mass protest, on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, in Bangkok, Thailand.

REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

File photo: A portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn is seen as pro-democracy demonstrators give a three-finger salute while marching during a Thai anti-government mass protest, on the 47th anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, in Bangkok, Thailand. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photo

Myanmar was reportedly plunged into a new nationwide internet shutdown on Saturday, days after a military coup that coincided with an earlier blackout. Myanmar's junta has tried to silence dissent by temporarily blocking Facebook and extended the social media crackdown to Twitter and Instagram.

In Myanmar's largest anti-coup protests yet, young demonstrators on Saturday spilled on to the streets to denounce the country's new military regime, despite a nationwide internet blackout aimed at stifling a growing chorus of popular dissent. As many as 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, and demanded the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Here are the top developments so far:

1,000 Protest Military Coup

The march came amid Myanmar's 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. 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.

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Myanmar Junta Shuts Twitter and Instagram as Protests Expand

Myanmar was reportedly plunged into a new nationwide internet shutdown on Saturday, days after a military coup that coincided with an earlier blackout. Myanmar's junta has tried to silence dissent by temporarily blocking Facebook and extended the social media crackdown to Twitter and Instagram in the face of the growing protest movement. Authorities ordered internet providers to deny access to Twitter and Instagram "until further notice", said Norwegian mobile phone company Telenor Asa.

UN Has "First Contact" With Myanmar Military

The United Nations had its first contact with the Myanmar military since its coup, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday, repeating calls for civilian leaders to be freed. 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.

International Pressure

The United States is considering targeted sanctions on individuals and on entities controlled by Myanmar's military. US President Joe Biden was among the world leaders to demand the generals to relinquish power and release advocates and activists and the officials who they had detained. Biden also asked the military to lift its restrictions in telecommunications, and refrain from any violence. US based pressure group Human Rights Watch called for the lifting of the internet restrictions, the release of detainees and an end to threats against journalists.

Blinken Presses China to Condemn Military Coup

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also "pressed China to join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma", using the former name of Myanmar. The top US diplomat said the United States would hold Beijing "accountable for its efforts to threaten stability in the Indo-Pacific, including across the Taiwan Strait, and its undermining of the rules-based international system." The tough tone comes after Blinken in his confirmation hearing said he would continue former president Donald Trump's approach to China in a rare point of agreement between the two administrations.

Dozens of Rohingya refugees caught arriving in Malaysia

Dozens of Rohingya, mostly women and children, were caught as they arrived by boat in Malaysia last month after fleeing a refugee camp in neighbouring Indonesia, police said Friday. Almost 400 members of the persecuted Muslim minority from Myanmar arrived by boat in Indonesia last year after perilous journeys, and just over 100 now remain at a camp there.

first published:February 06, 2021, 14:00 IST