Mass anti-coup protests continued in Myanmar throughout Friday, with organizers seeking alternative ways to guide the demonstrations after the military largely cut internet access across the country.
A number of protest actions took place throughout Myanmar despite the military’s efforts to hinder them by ordering local internet providers to shut down wireless broadband, depriving most users of access.
Bracing for the internet blackout, activist leaders had urged their supporters to use alternative and more old-fashioned ways of communication, and to continue staging snap demonstrations which disperse when the security forces arrive.
“In the following days, there [will be] street protests. Do as many guerrilla strikes as you can. Please join,” one of the leaders, Khin Sadar, wrote on Facebook ahead of the blackout.
“Let’s listen to the radio again. Let’s make phone calls to each other too.”
Demonstrators launched a so-called ‘Flower Strike’ on Friday, laying blooms at random public places across the country in memory of the victims of the ongoing violence.
In Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon, protesters held a candlelit vigil, commemorating the victims of the unrest and showing support towards ousted civilian leaders.
A similar event took place in the town of Hpakan in the north of the country.
The protests were met with a heavy-handed response from the security forces. Multiple local outlets reported live-ammo shooting on the crowds during a rally near the country’s second-largest city of Mandalay. Four people have been reportedly wounded, including two critically.
More than 540 people have been killed during the two months of unrest across the country, according to estimates by the Association for Political Prisoners advocacy group. Despite the military’s efforts to contain dissent, the protests have continued in Myanmar on almost a daily basis following the February 1 coup.
The coup ended a nine-year period of civilian rule in Myanmar. Previously, the country was under military control for decades, from the early 1960s until 2011.
The military has since promised to hold elections and surrender power back to civilians, but without giving a timeframe for the expected transition.
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