Myanmar military now blocks social media platforms

Friday, February 5th, 2021 00:00 |
Soldiers keep watch at a guesthouse, where the members of parliament reside, in the country’s capital Naypyidaw yesterday, as the party of Myanmar’s toppled leader Aung San Suu Kyi demanded her immediate release after a military coup that triggered international condemnation and sanctions threats from the new US president.

Yangon, Thursday

At least 11 people have been killed in a northwestern town in Myanmar, local media reported, as security forces cracked down on anti-coup protesters who fought back with hunting rifles and firebombs.

The Myanmar Now and Irrawaddy news sites said on Thursday that six truckloads of troops were deployed to quell a huge protest in the town of Taze on Wednesday.

When the protesters fought back with guns, knives and firebombs, five more truckloads of troop reinforcements were brought in.

Fighting continued into Thursday morning and at least 11 protesters were killed and about 20 wounded, the media said.

There was no word of any casualties among the soldiers.

That would take the toll of civilians killed by security forces to over 600 since the Myanmar military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

Taze is near the town of Kale, where at least 11 people were killed in a similar clash on Wednesday, according to news media and witnesses.

Security forces fired live rounds, grenades, and machine guns on protesters who were demanding the restoration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, AAPP said.

In Yangon, the country’s biggest city, activists placed shoes filled with flowers to commemorate dead protesters.

The military, which is hunting some 120 celebrities for speaking out against the coup, arrested a prominent actor, singer and model, according to his sister.

Paing Takhon, 24, was taken from his mother’s home in the North Dagon area of Yangon early Thursday, his sister Thi Thi Lwin posted on Facebook. 

“As he’s seriously ill, they arrested him calmly without violence. We do not know where he’s taken,” she added.

Thi Thi Lwin said the actor had been suffering from malaria and a heart condition.

Famous comedian

The country’s most famous comedian, Zarganar, was also arrested on Tuesday, media reported.

AAPP has said 2,847 people were currently being held in detention. Overseas, diplomatic tussles re-emerged on Wednesday.

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Kyaw Zwar Minn, said he had been locked out of the embassy, with sources saying his deputy had shut him out and taken charge on behalf of the military.

Kyaw Zwar Minn has broken ranks with the ruling military in recent weeks, calling for the release of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“It’s a kind of coup, in the middle of London… you can see that they occupy my building,” he told Reuters news agency.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab on Thursday condemned the “bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime” and praised the ambassador’s “courage”. But it was unclear what, if anything, the UK could do about the move.

There have also been similar counterclaims in embassies in other global centres and at the United Nations.  - BBC

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