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Myanmar Blocks Internet for Second Night in an attempt to quell protests | Military news

Blackout follows the 10th day of protests marked by a prominent military presence and use of force in Mandalay.

Myanmar was plunged into a second internet blackout on Monday evening after the 10th day of protests against the military coup marked by an increased presence of soldiers and wounded in Mandalay, the country’s second largest city, after police used force to disperse a demonstration.

Internet monitoring group NetBlocks said connectivity dropped to 15% of standard levels overnight.

“#Myanmar is in the midst of a near total internet shutdown for a second night in a row,” at 1 a.m. local time (6.30 p.m. GMT), NetBlocks tweeted early Tuesday morning.

The United Nations has warned the military of the “grave consequences” of harsh action against protesters and condemned internet restrictions.

“Ms. Schraner Burgener affirmed that the right to peaceful assembly must be fully respected and that protesters are not subject to reprisals,” UN spokesman Farhan Haq said in New York.

“She told the Myanmar military that the world was watching closely and that any form of backlash could have serious consequences.”

In an account of the meeting, the Myanmar military said Soe Win, the regime’s second in command, discussed the administration’s plans and information on “the real situation of what is happening in Myanmar” .

People have been on the streets for days demanding the military, who seized power in a February 1 coup, to step down and release the country’s elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, 75. . She has been charged with illegal possession of walkie talkies and is expected to appear in court by video link on Wednesday.

At least two people were lightly injured during Monday’s protests when police in Mandalay City used rubber bullets and catapults to disperse a protest, media and residents said.

Protesters threw bricks, said a member of the rescue team who assisted the injured.

“One of them needed oxygen because he was hit by a rubber bullet in the rib,” rescue team chief Khin Maung Tin told AFP news agency.

At least two people were injured in Mandalay when soldiers and police used rubber bullets and catapults to disperse a protest. [Stringer/Reuters]

Journalists at the scene also said police beat them.

A demonstration led by student groups in Naypyidaw, the country’s military capital, was also greeted with force after the rally pulled out. Police also arrested dozens of young protesters, although some were later released.

Coup leader Gen. Min Aung Hlaing told a junta meeting on Monday that the authorities were trying to proceed slowly, but warned: “Effective measures will be taken against those who harm the country. , committing treason through violence. “

In addition to demonstrations in towns, officials, including doctors and teachers, went on strike as part of a civil disobedience movement that crippled many government functions.

The army carries out nocturnal arrests and has been given increased search and detention powers thanks to amendments to the penal code of the colonial era.

The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), which monitors detentions, has expressed concern that Internet shutdowns could be used to “commit unjust activities, including arbitrary arrests”. He said at least 426 people had been arrested since the coup and 391 were still in detention.

The group said the latest amendments to the Penal Code made the law more “arbitrary” and “targeted the civil disobedience movement,” noting that the changes could allow the military to target brochures, protest banners and even songs. Those convicted of such offenses could face up to 20 years in prison, the AAPP added.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won one election in 2015 and another on November 8 – increasing its majority – but the military claimed the vote was fraudulent and used that complaint to justify its coup. The election commission dismissed the fraud charges.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years under house arrest under the previous military regime.

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