Myanmar must listen to those protesting internet shutdowns, not persecute them

Access Now, Article 19, Fortify Rights, and seven others are calling on authorities in Myanmar to immediately end criminal proceedings against, and release from detention, all those charged in relation to recent protests shining a spotlight on human rights violations and internet shutdowns in Rakhine and Chin states.

“Freedom of speech is a right, and when it’s snatched away from you, you have every right to demand it back,” said Felicia Anthonio, Campaigner and #KeepItOn Lead at Access Now. “Students in Myanmar should not have to face court for protesting against internet shutdowns, nor should peaceful protest be a crime.”

Triggered by the ongoing campaign of isolation and censorship imposed by authorities through internet shutdowns, voting suppression, and other repressive means, in Chin and Rakhine states since July 2019, students took to the streets in protest. On September 9 and 10 this year, protesters waged a sticker campaign with messages including “Restore 4G Internet Access”, and “Stand With People in Rakhine” plastering public spaces.

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