Myanmar is a country that’s currently under a military coup that has forced thousands of people to take to the streets the first demonstration. This came after the military seized power after ousting leaders Aung San Sun Kyi and Win Myint.
The duo won the election in November, but they have not been in public. They are detained by the same military they were supposed to control and the country itself.
The military started by blocking access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram before shutting down the country’s internet. According to NetBlocks Internet Observatory, which monitors the country’s internet, the connectivity levels have fallen to 16% of ordinary levels.
That didn’t stop people from protesting through the internet as they moved to use VPNs to access the blocked social media platforms. However, that has been cut short after the military decided to impose a more general blackout.
Since the coup started on February 1, the military temporarily blocked access to the internet for all its citizens. Such a move has been criticized by many civil society organizations in the country and worldwide.
For instance, Amnesty International called out the internet shut down as heinous and reckless by the military, putting everyone in Myanmar at risk of human rights violations.
The military blocked access to several social media accounts and shut down the country’s internet to stop all the streets’ demonstrations. But that hasn’t stopped protesters from going into the streets to call for the army’s release of the detained elected leaders.
Protestors included young students and workers who marched through Yangon’s streets, and they had city buses sounding their horns as they went on with the protests. They held a three-finger gesture, which translates to a Hunger Games salute, but at this time, it was a symbol of defiance against the military.
Myanmar may have experienced its first major public demonstration, but it remained peaceful as protestors didn’t try to pass police lines or barricades. Police were on the streets with riot shields, and roads were blocked with barbed wire. There was water cannon put into place in case the crown erupted their protests to another unwanted level.
People protested peacefully, and they even treated police with bottles of drinking water and roses as they urged them to support them in bringing down the new regime after the military took over the country.
The deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, Phil Robertson, said the complete shutdown of the internet means that Myanmar’s military is trying to shut down the world out so that they can do whatever they want.
Robertson added that the military will now intimidate, arrest, and abuse anyone brave enough to speak against them. He went on to ask how long will people allow them to do this and whether they will be a conflict of ranks within the police or military.
The country protests are going on with people chanting, “Military dictator, fail, fail; Democracy, win, win’. We hope the people of Myanmar will be heard, and the military coup will end as soon a possible to allow room for democratic transition in the country.
Rachel Lott is a Reporter for Chroniclex After graduating from Cuyahoga Community College, Rachel got an internship at USA Evening and worked as a Reporter and Producer. Rachel has also worked as a Reporter for WKYC TV and Fox News Channel. Rachel Covers International Developments.