Myanmar’s military government on Thursday ordered the indefinite shutdown of mobile internet service in the country, several phone companies said.
The decision to suspend the Internet does not specify the reason. It is assumed that the government has taken the step in an attempt to dismantle the street protests, which have been spreading across the country for weeks.
In the country, access to mobile Internet is much more widespread than fixed broadband. The government has already ordered the suspension of Internet access on other occasions, but in a timely manner.
Two months ago, on February 1, the military overthrew the country’s civilian government and arrested its leaders.
Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, the main civilian leader detained in the coup, was the target of a new charge Thursday: violating a colonial-era law on official secrets, according to his lawyer. If convicted in this case, she faces up to 14 years in prison.
Initially, Suu Kyi was charged with minor crimes, such as the illegal importation of six walkie-talkies and an alleged violation of protocols to combat the spread of the coronavirus. She is being held in an unknown location and her lawyer can only speak to her by video call.
At least 538 people have been killed so far in protests against the coup, including 141 on Saturday (27), the bloodiest day since the coup, according to the AAPP (Association for Assistance to Prisoners politicians), a group linked to Myanmar activists. .
On Thursday, new acts occurred in various parts of the country and at least two new deaths were recorded. The armed forces seized power on the grounds that the national elections in November, in which the pro-military party suffered a crushing defeat for the National League for Democracy, led by Suu Kyi, were defrauded – an act of accusation so far without evidence.
Last week, the international community stepped up pressure on the Burmese military, with new US and European sanctions. However, Russia and China have avoided criticizing the coup. Both countries are permanent members of the UN Security Council and can therefore block UN actions against Myanmar’s current command.