YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Sightings of armored personnel carriers in Myanmar’s biggest city and leaked orders of an impending internet shutdown raised political tensions late Sunday, after vast numbers of people around the country flouted orders against demonstrations to protest the military’s seizure of power.
Public concern has already been heightened for the past few nights by what many charge is the military’s manipulation of criminals released from prison to carry out nighttime violence and instill panic.
The military seized power on Feb. 1, detaining the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and members of her government and preventing recently elected lawmakers from opening a new session of Parliament.
The junta, led by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, said it was forced to step in because the government failed to properly investigate allegations of fraud in last year’s election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party won in a landslide. The state election commission refuted that contention, saying there is no evidence to support it.
There was no official word about why armored personnel carriers traversed the streets of Yangon in broad daylight Sunday, making their way through busy traffic. As night fell, there were videos and other reports on social media of the movement of other military vehicles.
An order that appears to be from the Ministry of Transport and Communications told mobile phone service providers to shut down internet connections from 1 a.m. to 9 a.m.