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Many might associate Myanmar with the Rohingya genocide that started in 2015. As of recently, there was a military coup d’etat which resulted in the overthrow of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, National League for Democracy. Both Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and the President of Myanmar, Win Myint, have been arrested.

 

What were the events that led to this seizure of power?

 

The coup took place on Feb. 1 following the victory of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, NLD, in the general election. Widespread election fraud information was a main cause of the events.

 

The coup took place right as Parliament was supposed to go through with their first session. Prior to this overthrow, Myanmar practiced the parliamentary system. 

 

Has this ever happened before?

 

History has repeated itself. In 1962, a coup d’etat of Myanmar, formerly Burma, occurred. Martial law was implemented for about 12 years. This military rule lasted until 2011 when Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi and the NLD brought back democracy.

 

At the time of the first coup, socialism ruled the country until 1988. The State Peace and Development Council then took control of the country until 2011.

 

This council consisted of several military leaders who kept Ms Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. When awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her peaceful efforts towards democracy, she was still under house arrest.

 

So, what’s their current state?

 

Due to a lack of democracy that the people of Myanmar had briefly experienced since 2011, there is extreme unrest. Protests have erupted in the streets over the past few days.

 

Red balloons were released by protestors to symbolize their cry for a return to democracy. Other red items like ribbons and shirts have popped up all around the country since the coup since it symbolizes the NLD. Pink is also worn in support of the NLD.

 

Martial law has been put into place in several towns. This bans any type of protest, gathering or rally.

 

The military has responded to this by implementing curfews and limiting civilian access to certain areas. Those that lived through the first martial law order in 1962 no longer want to live in the same fear.

 

Occupation by the military will preside for one year as they announced last week. They’ve been quick to act on controlling the many liberties that citizens previously had.

 

Blocks of popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, have been set in place. Live streams of the protests weren’t enabled, which made it harder for the news to spread around the world. Nonetheless, images and videos of large-scale protests surfaced soon after.

 

In response to the coup, civilians are boycotting companies that support the military, but their power continues to precede them. The police have been taking protestors who banged pots from their windows, which is another symbol of protest.

 

The first military coup went on to last for several decades. With immense public disapproval of the current rulings, it is unknown how long the current military control will last.

 

Sources:

 

https://military.wikia.org/wiki/1962_Burmese_coup_d%27%C3%A9tat

 

https://www.nytimes.com/article/2021-myanmar-coup.html?name=styln-myanmar&region=TOP_BANNER&block=storyline_menu_recirc&action=click&pgtype=Article&impression_id=cc041680-6a50-11eb-a3e5-634b9f75f2f8&variant=show

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/06/world/asia/myanmar-military-coup-yangon.html

 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55902070

Anjali grew up in Boston and is currently a freshman at Penn State University studying Economics and Political Science. Her dream job is to work as a lawyer in New York City. You can find her doing pilates, listening to podcasts, or cooking for a post on her food account (@may_i_taste).
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