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Myanmar shuts down the internet again as the crackdown on protests continues

Reuters, MYANMAR

Protests continued on Monday in defiance of a ban on public gatherings imposed after the coup. For a second straight night, Myanmar's junta shut down the internet, part of attempts to curb national demonstrations after civilian leaders seized power on Feb. 1.

The blackout came shortly after state-run MRTV said a new telecommunications law was implemented by Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing, with information expected to be revealed on Tuesday. Authorities tried to disrupt telephone and internet connectivity in order to discourage the mobilization of protesters, while at the same time authorizing new powers to intercept messages and detain dissidents.

On Monday, demonstrations continued in violation of a ban on public gatherings imposed following the coup. Since taking power later on Tuesday, the junta is scheduled to give its first press conference, while US Ambassador to Myanmar Thomas Vajda plans to host a virtual town hall for U.S. citizens.Since ousting the government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party won a landslide victory in November elections, Myanmar's military leaders have struggled to take control of the streets. She urged the 55 million people in the country to condemn the move by the army, calling it an "attempt to bring the nation back under military dictatorship." Among the more than 400 people detained after the coup, Suu Kyi and other political leaders are a number that keeps increasing by the day. Although authorities have largely avoided confronting demonstrators in major cities, such as Yangon, who have violated a ban on public gatherings, a number of protesters have been wounded in crackdowns, including a woman shot in the head in Naypyidaw, the capital, now on life support.

Reuters announced, citing her lawyer, that Suu Kyi will stay in detention ahead of a Wednesday court hearing.

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