Israelis who live in Myanmar say the internet is down and nothing is working, while local neighbors have fled in an unknown direction as soon as it became apparent the military has taken control of the country in a takeover.
Myanmar's military seized power on Monday in a coup against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy party in early morning raids over the government's alleged failure in handling the coronavirus crisis and election fraud.
The unrest in the country is expected to effect Myanmar's very small, native Jewish community of no more than eight families - as well as 30 Israelis living in the country, including embassy staff, businesspeople and their families.
One of the Israelis currently in the country is lawyer Hadar Adoy, who lives in Myanmar’s largest city of Yangon where the military occupied city hall, erected numerous checkpoints and apparently shuttered the connection to the internet, which forced the local banks to cease all operations.
"There has been talk about [a coup] for several days in the past week," Adoy tells Ynet. "Now we woke up in the morning to a reality where there is no internet and nothing works,” says Adoy, who describes a feeling of unease in the city.
"My neighbors took the kids and fled. I think the people do not like what is happening.” adds Adoy. “There were mass demonstrations here in 1988, when the army massacred people on the streets and killed about 3,000 people. It is difficult to predict what will happen this time. I think people are worried, the street looks relatively calm but I do not think these steps will lead to calm."
Another Israeli who lives in Yangon, Gili Yitzhak Gil, says despite the tough situation there are currently no violent rallies in the streets. "At the moment there is a food storage, cash withdrawals from the banks, queues at gas stations, heavy policing at intersections and quarters in the city."
Gil also talks of feeling of unrest among Yangon’s residents, many of which opted to stay home in order not to antagonize the military, which has deployed armed soldiers in every street in order to quench any signs of protest.
“There is military traffic on the city streets, soldiers with full equipment, all armed and lots of trucks. Once a mess starts, the military is quite prepared to suppress any major demonstration,” Gil says.
The coup came after days of escalating tension between Myanmar's civilian government and the military, who has handed power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing, who imposed a state of emergency for one year, according to a statement on a military-owned television station.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Suu Kyi, 75, came to power after a 2015 election win that followed decades of living under house arrest in a struggle for democracy with Myanmar's junta that turned her into an international icon.
Her international standing was damaged after hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled army operations into refuge from Myanmar's western Rakhine state in 2017, but she remains hugely popular at home.
Reuters contributed to this report