Myanmar protests resume, Internet restored as military circles

Pro-democracy protests resumed in Yangon, Myanmar’s biggest city, on Monday two weeks after the military seized power in a coup, despite a heavy military presence that has increased concern of a crackdown.

Livestreams shared by Myanmar media showed people gathering in different parts of Yangon, as an Internet blackout that was enforced overnight appeared to lift.

NetBlocks, which tracks Internet disruption, said on Twitter that connectivity was being restored, but that social media remained restricted for many users. The system was shut down for eight hours from 1am (18:30 GMT).

The military seized power on February 1, the day Myanmar’s parliament was due to begin a new session following elections in November, which were won by the National League for Democracy (NLD) in a landslide.

Detaining NLD founder and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi as well as senior members of her government, the generals said they were forced into the coup because of alleged election fraud. Election officials have said there is no evidence of fraud.

The United Nations and a number of western countries including the United States have condemned the coup, and on Friday the US imposed the first new sanctions on military chief Min Aung Hlaing and other senior generals.

In a statement late on Sunday, following reports of shots being fired in the northern state of Kachin and the deployment of armoured vehicles to various cities in Myanmar,  United Nations’ Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply concerned” about the situation in the country.