Protests in Myanmar

Julia Brennan

February 12, 2021

Amidst the chaos of the ongoing pandemic, a successful military coup in Myanmar took place on February 1st. President Aung San Suu Kyi, who had recently won the 2020 election, was arrested, along with other related government officials, by military personnel.

President Aung San Suu Kyi is being accused of interfering with election results and it has been claimed that she was in possession of electronic communication devices she was not supposed to have. Myanmar’s military has come out with a statement that there were extreme inaccuracies following Ms. Suu Kyi’s landslide win. Election officials have reported no such inaccuracies and said that there was no evidence tampering with the votes. The Myanmar military has declared a state of emergency, a period that will last one year, that will halt many, if not all, typical government proceedings. During this time, Min Aung Hlaing, the acting commander in chief of Myanmar’s military, will serve as interim president. The military claims that when the year is up, free, just elections will return and a new leader will be put into office. The citizens of Myanmar have not taken the return of military power lying down. Thousands upon thousands of citizens have stormed the streets of several major cities, including in the capital of Naypyidaw. Nearly everything, so far, has been in peace, save for a water cannon being fired to disperse crowds in the nation’s capital. Protesters have been sporting red to support the National League for Democracy Party, which was formerly in power. As if extending an olive branch, protesters have been reportedly offering food and flowers to the police and military lining the streets. Not everything, however, is going in such a positive direction. The military has begun cracking down on curfews all around, as well as periodically shutting down internet access across the country. Furthermore, it has been reported that the military has been feeding lies to the public, by maintaining that former president Aung San Suu Kyi had been peacefully released, as part of a mind-tricking punishment. For now, the nation remains, tense, like a powder keg ready to explode. Will the peaceful manner of the protests win over the hearts of the military in power, or will another violent crackdown, similar to those in 1998 and 2007, ensue? All eyes around the world will be on Myanmar for the next few weeks, waiting to see the full effects of this transition in power.