Myanmar’s army has blocked access to Facebook, just days after it seized control over the country’s democratically elected government in a coup earlier this week.
Following this, people all over the country rushed to social media sites to voice their condemnation, also using it as a platform to organise demonstrations and strikes against the coup. The ministry of communications revealed that Facebook would remain blocked over the weekend in an attempt to restrain and curb “fake news and disinformation” along with unrest in the country.
“Currently, the people, who are troubling the country’s stability, are spreading fake news and misinformation, and causing misunderstanding among people by using Facebook,” it said.
The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for international pressure to restore democracy in Myanmar. In conversation with the Washington Post, he said, “We will do everything we can to mobilise all the key actors and international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails. It is absolutely unacceptable after elections – elections that I believe took place normally – and after a large period of transition.”
Myanmar’s military seized power in a military coup early on Monday morning, detaining democratically elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi alongside other members of her party, National League for Democracy (NLD). The Myanmar army claims to have carried out the action in response to “election fraud.”
A state of emergency has been instated in Myanmar for a period of one year, according to a military-owned television channel, while power has been handed over to military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The coup occurred hours prior to the parliament’s first session since NLD’s November 8 election. Suu Kyi, Myanmar President Win Myint, and other NLD leaders were detained in the early hours of the morning.