Myanmar's military junta ordered internet service providers to shut down wireless broadband services as more people are rallied to join the protest the coup.
On Friday, all telecoms were mandated to cut wireless and mobile internet access across the entire country, reports Wired. This was following a similar order from the military to block access to social media services like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram where activists communicate and organize protests.
"What authorities are doing in the online environment is a reflection of their crackdown in the offline environment," said Oliver Spencer, adviser to Free Expression Myanmar, a domestic human rights group.
"Their objective is to spread so much fear that the unrest, the opposition, just dies, because people's fear overtakes their anger. Shutting down the internet is meant to be just one demonstration of their absolute power," added Spencer.
Ye Salween, a Myanmar analyst, said the same about the military authorities' attempt "to limit news flow and communications," reports Nikkei Asia.
"Taking down wireless Wi-Fi could be a test run on two issues -- how much they can reduce the news flow, and how much this would affect businesses. If news flow reduces but impact on the bank and business operations is limited, the military would likely maintain the blocking," he told Nikkei.
Last month, army spokesperson Zaw Min Tun said in a statement that since violence was provoked online, there would be no plans of restoring internet access. He claimed that it's for the sake of "stability."
"The junta's top priority is to quell the protests and all other forms of resistance. They are ignoring pleas from businesses for the sake of any resemblance of 'stability' for now," said analyst Ye Salween.
Human rights group Amnesty International warned that the internet shutdown could put the people of Myanmar at risk of more human rights violations, reports BBC News.
"Because of military dictatorship, many of our lives have been destroyed," one female protestor told BBC. "We cannot allow our future generations to meet the same fate."
Other journalists working on the ground also condemned the internet blackout.
"This shutdown is mainly because they don't want the news from citizen journalists on the ground to reach the media and then go from the media to the public," J. Paing of the Myanmar Press Photo Agency told Radio Free Asia.
RFA further reported that Myanmar's junta arrested 56 journalists since Feb. 1, with 30 now freed.
But citizens were also not spared from these arrests over sharing of information. Witnesses told the outlet that two women from Ten Mile Market in Yangon were also arrested after they were seen talking to a CNN reporter on Thursday. Another 23-year-old interviewee was also taken to the interrogation center in Shwepyithar by the military forces.
Jonathan Hawkins, CNN Vice president for communications, told RFA that they have reached out to the Myanmar military authorities for comment on the reported detentions of interviewees after responding to their team's queries.
"CNN is in Myanmar with the permission of the military and is being escorted by the military, including during the visit to the market," he said.
Now that Myanmar's digital communication has been stifled, a resident from the township of Yangon expressed his fear to RFA.
"Life has been difficult since Feb 1, when they staged the coup, and since then, they started a news blackout. The Internet has been cut off, and now the ISPs are cut off," he said.
"Without Wi-Fi, we can't get all the news. I don't know exactly what is going on, and feel insecure. I feel I'm no longer safe even at home," he added.