Thursday, May 30, 2024

Coup in Burma Facebook was down, and calls for resistance continued to spread

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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(Rangoun) Les services de Facebook, outil essentiel de communication en Birmanie, étaient perturbés jeudi, trois jours après le coup d’État qui a renversé le gouvernement civil d’Aung San Suu Kyi, tandis que les appels à résister au putsch continuaient à spread out.

France Media

The military abruptly ended the country’s fragile democratic transition on Monday, imposing a one-year state of emergency and arresting Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials of his party, the National League for Democracy (LND).

The 75-year-old leader, who is reportedly under house arrest in the capital Naypyidaw according to her movement, has been charged with breaching a shadowy commercial rule.

Fear of revenge remains strong in a country that, since its independence in 1948, has lived under the yoke of a military dictatorship for nearly 50 years.

But signs of resistance against the coup, strongly condemned by the United Nations and calling on the international community to work together to thwart it, continued to appear.

On Wednesday evening, in the commercial district of Yangon, the economic capital, residents trumpeted and banged on pots and pans for the second evening in a row, and some chanted, “Long live Mother Soo! (Aung San Suu Kyi).”

Health professionals took the lead in the protest, with dozens of institutions across the country refusing to operate “under illegal military authority.”

Some protested by wearing red ribbons in the colors of the National League for Democracy, and others gave the three-finger salute, a gesture of resistance already adopted by pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong or Thailand.

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Groups calling for “civil disobedience” have also been created on Facebook, the internet portal for a large portion of the population.

On Thursday, the American company said that some of its services were “broken”. “We urge the authorities to restore contact so that residents can communicate with their families and friends and access important information,” a spokesperson for the platform told AFP.

Norwegian company Telnor, one of the country’s main telecommunications service providers, confirmed that the authorities had issued an order to “temporarily block” Facebook. We had to cut back but “We don’t think it’s this […] The company added either “in accordance with international law.”

The military authorities have already issued a warning advising residents not to say or publish anything that “encourages a riot or an unstable situation.”

The United Nations raises the tone

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that he would do everything in his power to “rally all the major players and the international community to put sufficient pressure on Burma to ensure the coup fails.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Mr. Guterres considered it “absolutely unacceptable to change the election results and the will of the people,” expressing his regret that the United Nations Security Council was unable to agree on a joint declaration.

The council met on Tuesday urgently without reaching an agreement. Negotiations are still ongoing, according to a diplomat, who requested anonymity.

To be adopted, a common text requires the support of Beijing, which is exercising its veto power as a permanent member of the Security Council.

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However, China remains the main supporter of Burma at the United Nations, thwarting any initiative during the Rohingya crisis, believing that the conflict with the Muslim minority was Burma’s internal affair alone.

On Wednesday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman called on the international community to “create a healthy external environment so that Burma can properly resolve its differences,” saying that any intervention by the Security Council should “avoid exacerbating the problems. Tensions and more complicate the situation,” according to The new Chinese state agency.

Personal ambition

Burmese army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, who now concentrates most of the power, justified his coup by sparking widespread fraud during the November legislative elections that were largely won by the LDP, an election that nonetheless held without much problem, according to international observers.

In fact, the generals feared that although they had a constitution that was very favorable to them, their influence would diminish after the victory of Aung San Suu Kyi, who had been adulation in his country, analysts say.

They said that Min Aung Hling, an international pariah since the Rohingya crisis, also ousted the leader due to a personal political ambition when he was about to retire.

The National League for Democracy said that the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner was indicted for violating Burmese import-export law after authorities found unregistered radios in her home.

An equally vague charge has been brought against former President Win Myint, who has been prosecuted for violating a country’s disaster management law by failing to comply with anti-coronavirus measures.

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