The directive received Feb. 5 from the transport and communications ministry is in addition to the temporary prohibition on Facebook, according to Telenor Myanmar, one of two wholly foreign-owned mobile operators in the country.
The order comes amid further protests against the coup that unseated de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi. She has called on supporters to resist the generals, who seized power on Feb. 1 after claiming without presenting evidence that her landslide victory in November’s election was tainted with fraud. The military has pledged to hold elections after a yearlong state of emergency.
The army takeover has been criticized by many countries. In a rare show of unity, the U.S., China and other members of the United Nations Security Council called Thursday for the "immediate release” of all those detained in Myanmar while emphasizing the need for the "continued support of the democratic transition” in the Southeast Asian nation.
At the same time, Myanmar’s military leaders -- many of whom were already hit by the Trump administration for a brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims -- remain on good terms with China.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi and pressed for the country to "join the international community in condemning the military coup in Burma,” according to a statement from spokesman Ned Price on Friday.
Myanmar Blocks Facebook as Post-Coup Protests Gain Traction
Telenor said in its statement that it’s challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive and added that "freedom of expression through access to communication services should be maintained at all times, especially during times of conflict.”
Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the military government should lift internet restrictions, release all persons detained since the coup and end the harassment of journalists. - Bloomberg