|Security forces have fired on pro-democracy
protesters in Myanmar [AP]
Myanmar’s public internet access has been cut in what is reportedly an attempt to stop information from activists, journalists and bloggers about the government’s crackdown on pro-democracy protests from reaching the outside world.
Officials have blamed the cut on a damaged underwater cable, but bloggers say it is a deliberate move to restrict the flow of information.
One blogger based outside the country has used his website to report information from those attending the protests.
“Today the people’s uprising lead by the monks, NLD [National League for Democracy] members, students and citizens of Burma are entering the battle with their lives and blood,” said one person in an email sent to the ko htike website from Myanmar.
“Neighbouring countries like China, and so called democratic countries like India and Asean countries are selfishly avoiding the problems in Burma.
“On behalf of the Burmese people I salute the courage of Mr Kenji Nagai, a Japanese journalist… who sacrificed his life whilst recording media footage of gun shots to educate the global citizens.”
Another contributor to the blog, a Singaporean living in Myanmar, said that he had been hit by security forces in Myanmar.
“The soldiers came down and start to shoot at us. I was shot twice, but I did not know what hit me.”
“The soldiers and police kicked us and the rest of the crowds … and shouted that they would kill us if we look at them.”
‘I am a coward’
Before the country’s internet service was cut, bloggers inside the country provided their own reportage on Thursday’s events.
Dawn_1o9 is an office worker in Yangon.
“Someone from the office went out and came running back when there were shots being fired.
“I was watching the news at 8pm. The first news demanded people to report if they were forced to donate money and food to the protesters. What came next was other unimportant news like visiting factories and stuff.”
“I was not being brave. I am a coward hiding in the office…”
“In the midst of all these chaos, I am very afraid. I am afraid for myself, I am afraid for my family, and I am afraid for the country.”
Anonymous bloggers have helped send a flood of photos to the rest of the world documenting the violence, and the military government has repeatedly accused foreign media of instigating the protests.
“I think that they’re very frustrated that all these pictures and video footage are getting out, so they’re doing their best to try to cut wherever they can,” one Western diplomat said.
“Literally, they’re trying to stamp it out.”
Several of the nation’s tightly controlled private newspapers have also stopped publishing due to government pressure and unrest in the streets, reports said.