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Myanmar coup: Suu Kyi hearing postponed over internet block

AFP/Yangon
Filed on March 15, 2021
AFP

Security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators killing six people.

A block on mobile data networks across Myanmar on Monday scuppered a scheduled video court appearance by ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, as protesters returned to the streets after the bloodiest day since the military coup six weeks ago.

Myanmar security forces fired on pro-democracy demonstrators on Monday killing six people, a day after at least 44 protesters were killed Sunday in crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations, taking the death toll since the coup to more than 120, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) monitoring group.

Myanmar has been in uproar since the putsch, with daily protests demanding a restoration of democracy despite the junta’s increasingly forceful attempts to quell dissent.

The court hearing for Suu Kyi — who spent more than 15 years under house arrest during previous military rule — was scheduled for 10 am (0330 GMT) in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw, but it was postponed until March 24, her lawyer Khin Maung Zaw told AFP.

“There’s no court hearing because there’s no internet and the hearing is conducted by video conference... We cannot do video,” he said.

Myanmar authorities have throttled the internet every night for several weeks, normally restoring services in the morning, but monitoring service Netblocks said mobile data networks were kept offline Monday.

Suu Kyi faces at least four charges: possessing unlicensed walkie-talkies, violating coronavirus restrictions, breaching telecommunications laws, and intent to cause public unrest.

Military authorities have also accused her of accepting illegal payments of $600,000 in cash as well as a large quantity of gold — allegations her lawyer says are “groundless”.

Suu Kyi’s postponed hearing came a day after violent clashes between security forces and protesters, and the torching of several Chinese-owned factories in a textile-producing district of commercial hub Yangon as many protesters believe Beijing is supportive of the coup.

The AAPP on Monday said six more deaths had been confirmed to add to an overnight toll of 38, making Sunday the deadliest single day since the military seized power.





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