On February 1st I was scrolling through Reddit and happened upon this video. I was pretty confused at first and then became very alarmed once I realized what was happening.
After seeing this video I started to look into what was happening in Myanmar because this was my first time seeing anything about it.
It turns out that early in the morning of February 1st, Myanmar’s military staged a coup d’etat, seizing control of the government after detaining their democratically elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. According to Aljazeera, “Members of the military government justified Monday’s coup by alleging widespread voter fraud in a November general election that was won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy”
Myanmar has a long history of military control over the government after becoming independent from Britain in 1948. There was a couple years in the 60s where Myanmar had a democracy, but the military quickly took back full power. They then began the permanent transition to democracy between 2011-2015, but the military still held a lot of power in the country.
Then, a couple weeks ago I decided to look into more updates about the situation. I saw that hundreds of thousands of Myanmar citizens have been protesting over the last month. The military threatened protesters with the possibility of imprisonment and said that “protestors are risking their lives by turning out”. People are continuing to protest despite these threats and as I look today I see that a U.N. official reported that there were 38 people were killed this last Wednesday during a crackdown.
These protests are being compared to demonstrations on August 8th, 1988 in Myanmar, known as the 8888 uprising. The military cracked down on these demonstrations, killing hundreds of protestors and making it one of the most violent protests in Myanmar’s history.