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Fears grow for Myanmar residents in areas sealed off by military and under internet blackout

   March 17, 2021 6:16 AM
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by Helen Regan, CNN

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Myanmar
 
(CNN)Concern is growing for the safety of residents in parts of Myanmar's largest city after the military moved to seal off several key areas and impose an information blackout in an apparent bid to quash opposition.

The military, which seized power in a February 1 coup, has in recent days become more indiscriminate in its use of deadly violence against unarmed protesters, with widespread reports of shootings and torture of political prisoners.

This week, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing's forces imposed martial law in six areas of Yangon, following the bloodiest day of violence against anti-coup protesters amid arson attacks on Chinese-funded factories carried out by unknown groups. Martial law was also imposed in parts of the second city Mandalay, according to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Mobile network data across the country was cut for a second day Wednesday, internet monitoring service Netblocks reported. With little information coming out it is difficult for news organizations, and human rights and advocacy groups to assess and verify the current situation.

Protesters and journalists have relied on their mobile phones to live stream demonstrations and document police crackdowns, and the military's suppression of information has increased fears it could lead to more human rights abuses, killings and arbitrary arrests.

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