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‘Terrible and unacceptable’: People in Myanmar tell of their fears about a new era of military rule

O

n the first day of February 2021 Myanmar awoke to an internet blackout: No social media, no apps, no search engines. No news from friends, family or the international community, no way of knowing what was happening. The streets filled as people questioned each other for any information, using walkie-talkies to contact other neighbourhoods to ask for any clues.

Five months of consecutive lockdown because of the coronavirus had seen much of life moving online. Rumours soon spread along lengthening queues gathering outside banks and rice shops: the military had seized power.

On the morning of February 1, the military overthrew elected members of the National League of Democracy, the party of civilian leader Aung San Su Kyi, who had won an 80 per cent landslide majority at the November 2020 election after ruling the country since 2015.

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