İrem UZUN -TDO- Myanmar’s new regime shut down the internet after the military coup on February 1 sparked protests across the nation.  Thousands participated in large protests and the new government responded by blocking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and later the internet.

In the first such demonstration since the generals seized power on Monday, activists chanted, “Military dictator, fail, fail; Democracy, win, win” and held banners reading “Against military dictatorship”. Bystanders offered them food and water. Many in the crowd wore red, the color of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) which won November 8 elections in a landslide, a result the generals have refused to recognize claiming fraud.

As the protest swelled and activists issued calls on social media for people to join the march, the country’s internet crashed. Before the shutdown, hashtag #SaveMyanmar and #RespectOurVotes were trending, and many were using the platform to voice their opposition to the military coup.  The Ministry of Communications and Information did not immediately answer a request for comment but said previously it had blocked Facebook for the sake of "stability." 

Civil society organizations urged internet providers and mobile networks to challenge the blackout order, Reuters news agency reported. Human rights group Amnesty International called the shutdown "heinous and reckless" and warned it could put the people of Myanmar at risk of human rights violations.

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