On 1 February 2021, reporter Ko Zin Lin Htet received a panicked phone call from a source in Yangon, Myanmar’s most populous city. The caller said the military had seized power and was arresting opposition politicians, then hung up. Ko Zin Lin Htet remembered what he did next: “I checked my phone and my internet connection. There was nothing there.”
He got on his motorbike and drove to the parliament, where he saw military personnel, not police, guarding the buildings. At that moment, Ko Zin Lin Htet realised there had been a coup – and that by cutting internet access, the new junta had thrown the country back into the pre-internet era.
For months the military had been questioning the results of the November 2020 election, won in a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The coup took place on the day the new parliament was due to be sworn in.
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