Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Military vehicles take position on a blockaded road near Myanmar's Parliament, in Naypyidaw, on Feb. 4, 2021.

STR/AFP/Getty Images

Myanmar’s junta blocked Facebook on Thursday, trying to shut off an important channel for opposition to this week’s military coup as sporadic protests flared.

Military ruler General Min Aung Hlaing has moved quickly to consolidate his hold after overthrowing elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detaining her and allied politicians on Monday.

He told a business group on Wednesday he could keep power for six months after a one-year state of emergency ends in order to hold what he said he would be fair elections.

Story continues below advertisement

But in a show of defiance to the generals, a group of the lawmakers elected in a Nov. 8 ballot convened a symbolic parliamentary session in the quarters where they have been staying since the takeover.

Small protests took place in the main city Yangon and elsewhere, with activists saying three protesters had been arrested – among around 150 people who have been detained since the coup, according to one rights group.

Doctors were also spearheading a campaign of civil disobedience.

But in a country with a bloody history of crackdowns on demonstrations, there was no mass outpouring of opposition on the streets.

The army seized power on Monday alleging irregularities in the election, derailing Myanmar’s long and troubled transition to democracy. The move was condemned by Western governments, who have urged the junta to respect Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy’s landslide victory.

The UN Security Council called on Thursday for the release of Suu Kyi and other detainees, and voiced concern over the state of emergency. But it stopped short of condemning the coup.

Council members include China and Russia, who have traditionally shielded Myanmar from significant council action. China also has a big economic interest in Myanmar.

Story continues below advertisement

Opposition to the junta has emerged strongly on Facebook, Myanmar’s main social media platform, including for business and government.

The Ministry of Communications and Information said Facebook would be blocked until this Sunday, Feb. 7, because users were “spreading fake news and misinformation and causing misunderstanding”. Facebook’s WhatsApp messaging was also blocked.

Facebook was still available sporadically and demonstrators in the second city of Mandalay used it to livestream the first street protest since the coup.

“People’s protest against military coup,” read one banner.

The group of around 20 people chanted: “Our arrested leaders, release now, release now.”

Three people were arrested after the protest, student groups said. Reuters was unable to contact police for comment.

Story continues below advertisement

A dozen or so people also staged a protest in the main city of Yangon but dispersed quickly.

At least 147 people have been detained since the coup, including activists, lawmakers and officials from Suu Kyi’s government, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said.

DISOBEDIENCE

Staff at some government hospitals stopped work on Wednesday or wore ribbons in the NLD’s red colour. In response, the army said people could get treatment in military hospitals.

Pictures shared on Wednesday showed workers at the agriculture ministry joining the campaign of disobedience.

Other signs of anger have emerged. For a third night, people in Yangon and other cities banged on pots and pans and honked car horns. In Yangon, streets resounded to the sound of clapping at 5 p.m. (1030 GMT) by coup opponents.

“Lights are shining in the dark,” said Min Ko Naing, a veteran of past campaigns against military rule, in a call to action. “We need to show how many people are against this unfair coup.”

Story continues below advertisement

Suu Kyi, 75, has not been seen since her arrest along with other party leaders. Police have filed charges against her of illegally importing and using six walkie-talkie radios found at her home and she has been detained until Feb. 15.

The daughter of the former British colony’s independence hero Aung San and the long-time leader of its democracy movement, Suu Kyi spent about 15 years under house arrest between 1989 and 2010. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

She remains hugely popular at home despite damage to her international reputation over the plight of Muslim Rohingya refugees.

The new junta has declared a one-year state of emergency, but Min Aung Hlaing told a business group he could stay on beyond that.

“The army had to take charge for several reasons, but will not go beyond the democratic path,” he was quoted as saying by pro-army People Media.

The NLD won about 80 per cent of the parliament seats in the November election and trounced a pro-military party, according to the election commission. The army refused to accept the result, citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.

Story continues below advertisement

The United Nations said it would step up international pressure to ensure the will of the people is respected. Washington said it was reviewing possible sanctions.

Norway’s Telenor Asa, Myanmar’s leading mobile network operator, said it had to comply with the directive to block Facebook but did not believe the request was based on necessity in accordance with international human rights law.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy said on Monday. Reuters

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies