02/04/2021, 17.16
MYANMAR
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Apparent 'normality': only Facebook is blocked

by Francis Khoo Thwe

The only signs of protest are banging pots and pans, bell ringing, people shouting, medical staff on strike. Otherwise, life goes on like before. UN Secretary General hopes the coup d'état will fail.

Yangon (AsiaNews) – Four days after the military coup, oddly things seem to be back to normal. Everything is open and in operation: banks, shopping malls, stores, markets, offices.

However, as the day goes on and turns into evening, there are signs of protest against the military takeover and the imprisonment of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Once back home, people wait for the curfew (from midnight to 4 am). This marks the start of a concert for “democracy” with bells ringing, pans and pots banged, and people shouting praise for the ousted leader.

Meanwhile, between yesterday and today, telephone services were restored. Facebook however was still disrupted. At least half of Myanmar's population (about 55 million) uses the social networking platform.

Right after the coup, a civil disobedience movement popped up on Facebook quickly acquiring some 150,000 followers, with posts titled “Shame on the army” and “The military are thieves”.

On social media, Myanmar’s military came under heavy criticism as did China and Russia who vetoed a resolution condemning the coup.

So far, only medical staff staged a strike, wearing a red ribbon (colour of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy) and showing a three-finger salute (pictured).

In an interview with the Washington Post, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he hoped to see the international community put so much pressure on the coup d'état that it fails.

In reality, starting with China and Russia, followed by India and Japan, countries are lining up to get back to business as usual, even with the coup leaders.

In a message released last night, Cardinal Bo urged the parties, the military and the National League for Democracy, to avoid violence, and engage again in dialogue until they find a way to reconcile.

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