Myanmar’s junta deployed extra troops around the country and choked the internet on Monday as it intensified a crackdown on anti-coup protests, but defiant demonstrators again took to the streets.
The military has steadily escalated efforts to quell an uprising against their seizure of power two weeks ago, which saw civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi detained along with hundreds, including members of her democratically elected government.
The generals imposed an hours-long internet shutdown on Monday morning and ratcheted up the military’s presence across the country overnight, including armoured vehicles in Yangon, the nation’s commercial hub and biggest city.
But fresh protests again flared in the city, including near the central bank where troops were deployed.
“Patrolling with armoured vehicles means they are threatening people,” said 46-year-old Nyein Moe, among the more than one thousand gathered in front of the bank.
“People are marching on the streets and they don’t care to be arrested or shot. We can’t stop now. The fear in our mind is going away.”
Hundreds of engineering and technology students also protested in a northern district of Yangon, according to an AFP journalist.
There was a fresh rally in the southern city of Dawei too, a verified live stream on Facebook showed, with hundreds of protesters accompanied by a marching band.
Some carried banners against the military that read: “They kill in (the) day. They steal at night. They lie on TV.”
Protesters also came out in large numbers in the capital Naypyidaw and the second-biggest city Mandalay.
Monitoring group NetBlocks reported that a “state-ordered information blackout” had taken Myanmar almost entirely offline early Monday.
Internet connectivity was later restored around the start of the working day, with Netblocks saying the blackout lasted around eight hours.
But the monitor noted that most users in Myanmar were still barred from social media.