Myanmar Government Instills Nationwide Internet Blackout As Thousands Protest Recent Coup

Thousands of Myanmar citizens took to the streets to protest the recent military coup d'etat that ousted and imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi. The public showing of anger comes despite the fact that the government had attempted to completely deprive the nation of internet access in the hope it would both stifle international attention and make it more difficult for protestors to communicate.

According to The Guardian, NetBlocks Internet Observatory reported that online usage had fallen to 16 percent of ordinary levels by early Saturday afternoon. Facebook was the first platform to be banned, as it is considered by many to be the de facto point of access to the web. After Facebook was shut down, citizens flocked to Twitter -- which was then banned as well. Instagram has been the latest victim in the government's attack on web access.

However, despite the fact that no online communication has made it more difficult to organize events, tens of thousands of citizens marched through the streets in peaceful protests to demand the reinstatement of Aung San Suu Kyi and fellow party leader Win Myint.

In the country's largest city and former capital Yangon, protesters chanted phrases decrying the military while taking to the streets. Yangon University had a particularly large number of protestors, with many wearing red headbands in honor of the National League for Democracy.

"Tell the world what has happened here," one man said. "The world needs to know."

"I always disliked the military but now I'm absolutely disgusted by them," added another.

"This is unacceptable and immoral and we need to let them know. We need more people to join us," echoed a third.

In addition to the demonstrations, civilians have begun banging on pots and pans every evening as a show of their discontent. Many individuals have also started to use a three-fingered salute, which is a symbol of resistance.

People protest in Myanmar.
Getty Images

Meanwhile, Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division, offered harsh criticism of the military's response to both the election and the demonstrations.

"They're going to pull down the shutters and intimidate, arrest and abuse everybody who is daring to speak up. The question is how long people are able to do this and whether there will be any splits in ranks within the police or the military," he said, slamming the current government's belief that it can "shut the world out and do whatever it wants."

As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the Myanmar public had already faced similar difficulties shortly after the junta took power last week, with television signals grounded and ATMs either overloaded or not working.