YANGON, MYANMAR — A popular rapper in Myanmar who criticised the junta over massive power blackouts has been arrested for “spreading propaganda”, the military said, the latest arrest in a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Byu Har posted a Facebook video to his hundreds of thousands of followers on Tuesday slamming the junta for rolling power outages that have hit Myanmar in recent weeks.
He mocked junta leader Min Aung Hlaing and said power supply had been better managed during the government of deposed civilian leader and democracy figurehead Aung San Suu Kyi.
Byu Har was arrested for “inciting with the aim of disrupting the peace and stability of the nation, and the act of spreading propaganda”, the military’s information team said in a statement on Sunday.
It did not give details about whether he had been charged or where he was being held.
Byu Har is the son of prominent composer Naing Myanmar, whose song “Kabar Ma Kyay Buu” has been widely sung at protests against the military’s February 2021 coup.
Byu Har regularly posts videos of bare-chested and strumming a guitar.
Power outages are common in Myanmar due to a creaky and outdated electricity grid, with demand regularly outstripping supply during the sweltering summer months.
The junta has blamed the worsening outages on rising gas prices and attacks on infrastructure by anti-coup fighters.
The blackouts have aggravated the economic misery sparked by the military’s coup.
The junta has arrested tens of thousands in its crackdown on dissent since seizing power, according to a local monitoring group, including dozens of artists and celebrities.
Two prominent models were arrested last year for “harming culture and dignity” after they posted clips to the intimate video-hosting platform OnlyFans.
The putsch sparked renewed clashes between the military and ethnic rebel groups and gave rise to dozens of “People’s Defence Forces” now fighting across Myanmar.
More than one million people have been displaced by the violence, according to the United Nations.
Suu Kyi was jailed by the junta for 33 years in December after a closed-door trial slammed by rights groups as a sham.