Myanmar military blocks Facebook to stifle dissent

Myanmar's military blocked Facebook and other messaging services on Thursday to shut down dissent.

It comes just days after they launched a coup and detained de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, saying it was a response to 'election fraud.'

Opposition to the takeover went viral on Facebook with activists and others sharing images of hospital staff protesting and calling for the release of Suu Kyi, activists and others arrested from her National League for Democracy party.

Facebook is used by half of Myanmar's 53 million population.

The Ministry of Communication and Information says it will be blocked until Sunday.

In a letter they accused people on Facebook of "spreading fake news and misinformation and causing misunderstanding."

However, the disruptions were patchy and some got through the blackout with VPNs.

Myanmar's leading mobile network operator, Norway's owned Telenor, said in a statement it had no choice but to comply.

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone urged authorities to restore connectivity so that "people in Myanmar can communicate with their families and friends and access important information."

Suu Kyi has not been seen since her arrest in the early hours of Monday morning and she was was charged last night for illegally importing communications equipment.

Police said six walkie-talkies had been found in a search of her home that were imported illegally and used without permission.

The chair of the ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights called the charges 'absurd' in a statement.

Earlier in the week, an official from Suu Kyi's NLD party said she was under house arrest in the capital, Naypyidaw, but in "good health."

The military has given no word on her whereabouts.

They have refused to accept the NLD's landslide election in win in November - citing unsubstantiated allegations of fraud.