Mobile internet and some phone services were disrupted in Myanmar’s major cities, including Yangon, following the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders from the ruling party amidst a military coup, according to Reuters and BBC News.
Myanmar’s national internet connectivity had fallen to 75% of ordinary levels from 3 a.m. local time, and fell to 50% by 8 a.m. local time, according to internet shutdowns monitoring service Netblocks.
Update: Internet connectivity in #Myanmar has fallen to 50% of ordinary levels as of 8:00 a.m. local time amid an apparent military coup and the detention of civilian leaders; pattern of disruption indicates centrally issued telecoms blackout order 📵
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 1, 2021
Myanmar’s military has reportedly seized power and taken control of the country. Soldiers are on the streets of the capital Nay Pyi Taw and the former capital Yangon. The coup came after tensions escalated between the civilian government and the military following a disputed election. Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy, won 83% of the seats — enough to form a government — in the November 2020 election. But the military claimed that the vote was fraudulent and had approached the Supreme Court against the president and chair of the electoral commission.
The pattern of disruption indicated centrally issued telecom blackout orders, Netblocks said. “Technical data show cuts affecting multiple network operators including state-owned Myanma Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) and international operator Telenor, with preliminary findings indicating a centrally ordered mechanism of disruption targeting cellular and some fixed-line services, progressing over time as operators comply.”
Very disturbing news that what many have feared is indeed unfolding in Myanmar. Communications lines are down so, by design, communication is difficult. But apparently the State Counselor and many others have been detained by the military. Outrageous.
— UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews (@RapporteurUn) February 1, 2021
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