On 17 February 2021, tens of thousands of people gathered in the Sule area of central Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, to participate in a major demonstration against the 1 February military takeover. Protesters heeding a call on social media platforms to observe a “Road Blocking Day,” in an effort to impede the movement of security forces and government personnel traveling to work, parked dozens of vehicles at major intersections, on bridges and on the streets, disrupting vehicular traffic. Participating motorists claimed that their vehicles were malfunctioning and could not be moved Additional demonstrations occurred in the capital Naypyitaw — where thousands of private sector employees staged a march through the Pyinmana area. Meanwhile, protesters also took to the streets in Mandalay, the country’s second-largest city. These marches are being organized as part of a civil disobedience movement launched to increase pressure on the junta to release the country’s detained leaders, State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.

In an associated development, the military junta disrupted internet access countrywide for a third consecutive day, from 0100 to 0900 local time. A firewall system is purportedly being installed during the periodic outages, which would enable the junta to monitor and censor online activity.