Myanmar military broadens internet crackdown as anti-coup protests grow

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Axios
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Myanmar's military appeared to have broadened its crackdown on internet access Saturday amid protests over the coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected civilian government, AP reports.

What's happening: Netblocks, a U.K.-based site that tracks internet disruptions worldwide, tweeted Saturday that “a near-total internet shutdown is now in effect” in Myanmar. The broad outages followed the military's order to block Facebook, Instagram and Twitter earlier this week.

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The big picture: The outages came as thousands of people took to the streets to protest Monday's military coup.

  • The country's army declared a one-year state of emergency after taking power and detaining Suu Kyi and other top ruling party leaders.

  • The coup followed escalating tensions between the civilian government and the military following last November's elections, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide. The military called the elections unfair.

  • The international community, including the United States, has largely condemned the coup and urged Myanmar's military leaders to "adhere to democratic norms and the rule of law."

Between the lines: "The communication blockages are a stark reminder of the progress Myanmar is in danger of losing after Monday’s coup plunged the nation back under direct military rule after a nearly decade-long move toward greater openness and democracy," AP noted.

  • "During Myanmar’s previous five decades of military rule, the country was internationally isolated and communication with the outside world strictly controlled," the news agency added.

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