Telephone line cut at Myanmar opposition party office
The only telephone line has been cut at the headquarters of Myanmar's major opposition party, a spokesman said Friday, as the junta seeks to tighten its grip after a series of protests.
"We have only one landline," said Han Zaw, a spokesman for detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
"It has been cut since Wednesday without any reason. We hope it's just a technical problem and things will get back to normal soon."
Myanmar's generals on Sunday issued a statement blaming the NLD for nationwide unrest, which has seen dozens of people arrested since August 19. The junta also threatened "effective action."
Since the statement was issued, key officials with the NLD as well as a leading AIDS activist and a workers' rights advocate say they have had their mobile phones cut off.
"More than a dozen mobile phone signals were cut on Monday. The line says 'temporarily barred'," an NLD member told AFP. "We don't know the reason."
Telecommunications sources said that more than 50 phone services -- mostly mobile phones used by NLD members and other activists -- had been cut off since Monday to try to curb the spread of information about rallies.
A massive hike in fuel prices on August 15 sparked the biggest protests in military-ruled Myanmar in at least nine years. Human rights groups estimate that about 150 people have been arrested since then.
The crackdown on dissent in the country formerly known as Burma has led to an international outcry, with US President George W. Bush calling the junta "tyrannical."
The United Nations human rights chief on Thursday called for the release of all peaceful protesters.