Myanmar Military blocks Facebook for sake of ‘Stability’ amidst Military Coup

Days after the military overthrew the democratic government in a coup, Myanmar has blocked access to Facebook.

The social media platform will be blocked for the sake of “stability”.

But for many in Myanmar it is the only access to the internet.

Half of Myanmar’s i.e. 53 million people use Facebook, which without loading pictures or videos is free and for many therefore synonymous with the internet.

Elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in the coup on Monday and police have filed charges against her.

UN Secretary General António Gutierrez has urged the world community to make sure

Monday’s coup in Myanmar fails.

Over the past days, activists had set up a Facebook page to co-ordinate opposition to the coup.

The Ministry of Communications and Information said the social media platform would be blocked until 7 February.

Facebook acknowledged the disruption, and commented “we urge authorities to restore connectivity so that people in Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information.”

Myanmar Coup what’s happening and why?

The military, declared a year-long state of emergency and detained democratic leader Ms Suu Kyi on Monday. Military justified its action by alleging fraud in last November’s elections, which Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won decisively.

Since the takeover nothing have been heard from neither Ms Suu Kyi nor deposed President Win Myint.

Mr Guterres said reversal of elections was “unacceptable” and that coup leaders must be made to understand this is no way to rule the country.

The UN Security Council is discussing a possible statement, but China is expected to block any form of words which condemns the coup.

The coup was led by armed forces Chief Min Aung Hlaing, has seen the installation of an 11-member junta.

‘Military Coup – Absolutely unacceptable’

The UN secretary General António Gutierrez called for constitutional order to be re-established in Myanmar. Myanmar was known as Burma earlier. He said he hoped there would be unity in the Security Council on the matter.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez

He said, “We’ll do everything we can to mobilize all the key actors of the international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails.”

“It’s absolutely unacceptable to reverse the result of the elections and the will of the people.

“I hope that it’ll be possible to make the military in Myanmar understand that this is not the way to rule the country and this is not the way to move forward.”

World’s reaction on Military Coup

Western countries have condemned the coup unreservedly.  But all efforts at the Security Council to reach a common position failed as China dissented.

China is one of five permanent members with a right of veto in the council.

Beijing has long played a role of protecting the country from international scrutiny, and has warned since the coup that sanctions or international pressure will only make things worse.

Alongside Russia, it has repeatedly protected Myanmar from criticism at the UN over the military crackdown on the Muslim minority Rohingya population.

Where is Suu Kyi?

Nobody knows Suu Kyi’s whereabouts. Reports says that Myanmar’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi is being held at her residence in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw.

The accusations are contained in a police document – called a First Initial Report – submitted to a court.

The document says, “She was remanded in custody “to question witnesses, request evidence and seek legal counsel after questioning the defendant.”

She faces charges which include breaching import and export laws, and possession of unlawful communication devices.

President Win Myint is accused, under the National Disaster Management Law, of meeting supporters in a 220-vehicle motorcade during the election campaign in breach of Covid restrictions.

Activists call for civil disobedience

The country has appeared mainly calm following the coup, with troops on patrol and a night-time curfew in force.

There have been only few signs of major protest in Myanmar so far.

On Tuesday and Wednesday night, drivers honked their horns in the main city, Yangon (also known as Rangoon), and residents banged cooking pots.

The protesters say they are pushing for the release of Ms Suu Kyi.

Hospitals have seen protests. Many medics have either stopped work, or continued while wearing symbols of defiance to oppose the suppression of Myanmar’s short-lived democracy.

They are wearing red or black ribbons to signify resistance, and have been pictured giving the three-fingered salute familiar from the Hunger Games films and used by demonstrators last year in Thailand. Many people their social media profile pictures to the colour red, in support of Ms Suu Kyi’s party.

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