Myanmar’s junta cut the nation’s internet and deployed extra troops around the country on Monday as fears built of a widespread crackdown on anti-coup protests, but defiant demonstrators again took to the streets.
The junta has recently escalated efforts to curb an increasing civil disobedience campaign which is demanding a release of the country’s ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Monday’s internet shutdown came soon after live-stream images shared on social media platforms showed military vehicles and soldiers moving through some parts of the country. The “state-ordered information blackout” had taken Myanmar almost entirely offline.
Troops in Myitkyina fired tear gas then shot at a crowd in the northern city to stop a rumoured shutdown of the electricity grid, it was unclear whether police had used rubber bullets or live rounds.
Local media outlets said at least five journalists monitoring the protest had been detained and published pictures of some people wounded in the incident.
Much of the country has been in uproar since soldiers detained Aung San Suu Kyi and her top political allies, ending a decade-old fledgling democracy after generations of junta rule.
An internet blackout last weekend failed to quell resistance that has seen huge crowds throng big urban centres and isolated frontier villages alike.
Striking workers who spearheaded the campaign are among at least 400 people to have been detained since the coup but fear of arrest did not stop big crowds from coming to streets around the country for a ninth straight day of protests on Sunday.