What’s happening in Myanmar?

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YouEnrest has gripped Myanmar. Peaceful pro-democracy street demonstrations and stagnation of work have given way to paramilitary operations against the country’s brutal army, which seized power in a February 1 coup.

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Military leaders who initially controlled the response to the first waves of protests, civil disobedience and general attacks, became more powerful over time, growing in a brutal attempt to curtail the movement. The Tatmadaw, known as the Myanmar Army, are now trying to quell resistance at the border, firing rocket launchers and burning houses.

The coup returned the country to full military rule after a short period of quasi-democracy that began in 2011, when the military, which had been in power since 1962, held parliamentary elections and other reforms. In the months since the coup, the country’s ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has faced charges in a secret court.


What was the reason for the military coup in Myanmar?

In early 2021, the country’s parliament was expected to endorse the recent election results and approve the next government. The National League for Democracy, Myanmar’s principal civic party, won 83 percent of the body’s available seats.

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The military refused to accept the results of the vote, which was widely seen as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s popularity. As head of the National League for Democracy, she has been the de facto civic leader since her election in 2015.

The possibility of a coup arose after the military, which tried to argue in the country’s Supreme Court that the election results were fraudulent, threatened to “take action” and surrounded the houses of parliament with soldiers.

According to residents, soldiers fired rocket launchers, burned houses, cut off food supplies and shot civilians.

How was the coup done?

The military detained leaders of the National League for Democracy and other civilian officials, including Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, cabinet ministers, chief ministers of several regions, opposition politicians, writers and activists.

The coup was effectively announced at the military-owned Mywadi TV station when a news presenter cited the 2008 constitution, which allows the military to declare a national emergency.

The military soon took control of the country’s infrastructure, suspending most television broadcasts and canceling domestic and international flights.

Telephone and Internet access was suspended in major cities. Stock markets and commercial banks remained closed and long lines were seen outside ATMs at some places. In Yangon, the country’s largest city and former capital, residents rushed to markets to stock up on food and other supplies.

How are people protesting?

Weeks of relatively peaceful protests quickly turned deadly on 20 February when two unarmed protesters, a 16-year-old boy, were killed by security forces in Mandalay.

On February 22, lakhs of people across the country took to the streets in a general strike. Since then, an expanding civil disobedience movement has crippled the banking system and made it difficult for the military to do much.

As the demonstrations entered their second month, the military, notorious for crushing democracy movements by shooting peaceful protesters in 1988 and 2007, became more violent in its response. Since the coup, around 1,300 people have been killed by the junta and more than 10,000 people have been arrested, according to a watchdog group.

Among protesters, there is a growing recognition that the Tatmadaw needs to be fought on its own terms. In the forests of the country, people are taking training with firearms and grenades.

According to the departure of the UN Special Envoy on Myanmar, the country is now on the verge of civil war.

How does the military continue to eliminate the resistance?

Since bloody crackdowns against protesters in major cities, the military has been moving aggressively to quell resistance at the country’s border. Tatmado is targeting areas that are home to armed civilians known as the People’s Defense Forces.

Residents have reported a large build-up of troops in northwestern Myanmar. According to residents, soldiers fired rocket launchers, burned houses, cut off food supplies and shot civilians.

Desperate families are migrating to neighboring India to escape the violence. The entire city of about 12,000 people is almost empty. Concerned about the humanitarian crisis, aid groups are preparing for an influx of refugees.

Who is Suu Kyi?

Suu Kyi came to power as a state councilor in 2016 after the country’s first fully democratic vote in decades.

His ascension to leadership was seen as a pivotal moment in Myanmar’s transition, formerly known as Burma, from military dictatorship to democracy. Suu Kyi, the daughter of the country’s independence hero General Aung San, was placed under house arrest for more than 15 years.

His time in detention made him an international icon, and he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

After his release from detention in 2010, his reputation was tarnished by his cooperation with the military and his outspoken defense of the country’s deadly campaign against the Rohingya, a Muslim ethnic minority group. In 2019, she represented Myanmar in a trial at the International Court of Justice, at which she defended it against allegations of ethnic cleansing.

Many believed that Suu Kyi’s cooperation with the military was a practical step that would accelerate the development of full democracy, but her detention since the coup proved to be a lie in the military’s commitment to democracy.

Why is Suu Kyi on trial?

A secret test for Suu Kyi began on 16 February 2022.

Suu Kyi has been accused of violating import restrictions after a walkie-talkie and other foreign equipment was found in her villa complex. He has also been accused of violating the Natural Disaster Management Act by interacting with the crowd during the coronavirus pandemic.

If convicted on all 11 charges against him, he could face a maximum sentence of 102 years in prison.

The United Nations and foreign governments have called the matter politically motivated. The junta has barred all five of its lawyers from speaking to the media, saying their communications “could destabilize the country”.

Who is Senior General Min Aung Huling?

After the coup, the army handed over power to the army chief, Senior General Min Aung Huling.

The move bolsters the general’s power, even though he is expected to age as army chief this summer. His patronage network, which focused on lucrative family businesses, could well be weakened by his retirement, especially if he was not able to secure a clean exit.

Under the former powersharing agreement, Min Aung Huling presided over two business groups and was able to appoint three key cabinet members who oversaw the police and border guards.

The army never came under the control of the civilian government. In recent years, the military, led by Min Aung Huling, has oversaw operations against several ethnic minority groups in the country, including the Rohingya, Shan and Kokang.

What has been the international response?

Several prominent world leaders condemned the coup, demanding that Myanmar’s military immediately free Suu Kyi and other detained government officials and respect November’s election results. But it was not immediately clear what concrete action other nations might take.

The Biden administration, which has sought to elevate human rights as a foreign policy priority, announced sanctions in late March in coordination with the European Union, which has warned military officials and other entities in Myanmar against democracy advocates for their actions. designated for violence.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the coup developments “represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar”. And Boris Johnson said on Twitter that “the vote of the people should be respected and civilian leaders should be released”.

This article originally appeared in the new York Times,


Credit: www.independent.co.uk /

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