JURIST EXCLUSIVE – Uncertainty reigned in Myanmar late Wednesday as the ruling military junta announced it was cutting off public wifi access after stopping mobile data services Monday in a bid to stop videos and photos showing brutal police actions against civilian pro-democracy protesters from flooding the internet. It is still unclear whether the announced cut-off of public wifi will extend to home broadband services in the country, but Myanmar citizens and members of the international human rights community are already decrying the most recent restriction.
Junta forces meanwhile continued operations against barricaded protesters in several Yangon townships. Between late Sunday and the end of Monday, martial law was declared in six, giving the military broad authority over civilian administration of justice in those areas. Law students reporting for JURIST in Yangon reported multiple shootings and at least one more death Wednesday, along with multiple arrests of civilians. They said that gunshots and flash-bangs could be heard in many areas of the city of over 4 million.
On hearing reports of a likely internet shutdown, one of our law students in Yangon wrote this:
We also heard some wifi will be available, but not sure, sir. May be all wifi will be cut off tomorrow.
It feels like we are saying goodbye and I become suddenly sad, sir. 😭
I think you will get some informations through other platforms. Even wifi are cut off, a few people (some Myanmar from other countries) will be online and sharing the news.
We feel like we just have to watch the MWD, MRTV, which are broadcasting the lies.😑
Anyway we know what we can trust.
Myanmar people will try all the possible ways to reach our goal.
We, Yangon team, will also try our best in our own ways, and also promise we will be safe.
We hope, after all these things, we will keep in touch with you and still delivering the news from our country.
We expect to know whether our law student correspondents are still connected after the end of the regular daily internet shutdown period at 9 AM Thursday MMT.