Hackers on Thursday attacked junta-run government websites in Burma, where the web has become a new ground for confrontation between protesters and the military, which has cut internet access for the fourth night in a row.
A group called “The Hackers of Burma” has disrupted several government websites, including the Central Bank, the Burmese Army propaganda page, state television channel MRTV, the port authority and the commodities agency. food and medicine.
The action comes in the wake of a massive protest in which tens of thousands of people across the country took part in opposition to the military coup that toppled the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi earlier this month. .
“We are fighting for justice in Burma,” the hacker group said on its Facebook page. “It’s like a mass protest in front of government websites.”
In Yangon, protesters gathered near the famous Sule pagoda in the center of the economic capital on Wednesday, blocking roads with cars and heavy goods vehicles in an attempt to prevent security forces from deploying, while that others marched, waving placards: “Fight for democracy!”, “Reject the coup!” No incidents were reported on Wednesday. The police and army, stationed nearby, appeared to be staying behind.
Reduced internet traffic
In Myanmar’s second city, Mandalay (center), police and army dispersed protesters who had blocked rail traffic, witnesses said. According to a member of the emergency services, the security forces opened fire, but he could not say whether they were rubber bullets or live ammunition.
In Naypyidaw, the administrative capital where former head of civilian government Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest, civil servants, engineers and students marched in numbers.
The military has continued to toughen its tone since their February 1 coup, which ended a fragile 10-year democratic transition. The country was thus placed Wednesday evening under a sort of curfew on the internet for the fourth consecutive night, with a traffic capacity reduced to 21% of the usual level, according to NetBlocks, a group based in Great Britain. which monitors Internet outages around the world.
The fear of reprisals is on everyone’s minds in a country which has already lived under the yoke of the military for almost 50 years since its independence in 1948. Several demonstrations have given rise to strong tensions in recent days. The police fired on several occasions, tear gas, rubber bullets or with slingshots, injuring several people.
A 20-year-old woman who was shot in the head last week, possibly live ammunition, is brain dead. A police officer died Tuesday from injuries sustained during a rally in Mandalay, said the junta, which repeatedly brandished the threat of “sanctions”.
Despite this, calls for civil disobedience continue with striking doctors, teachers, air traffic controllers and railway workers, particularly targeted during arrests.
Hundreds of arrests
More than 450 people have been arrested since February 1, according to an NGO helping political prisoners. 417 are still in detention. Unconfirmed reports point to additional arrests.
Already prosecuted for breaking an obscure trade rule by importing walkie-talkies “illegally”, Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, faces a new charge for violating “the law on the management of natural disasters”, according to her lawyer who still has not been able to contact her. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize winner is “in good health” according to the junta, which maintains her under house arrest for her safety.
The generals are turning a deaf ear to the multiple international condemnations and the sanctions announced by Washington. They have so far two sizeable backers at the UN, China and Russia, for whom the current crisis is “an internal matter” in Burma.
Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing justified his coup by citing fraud in the November legislative elections, largely won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy. Min Aung Hlaing has been an international pariah since the atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in 2017.