Written by Daniel Maloney (News Writer)
In the past month, countless protests and other uprisings have occurred in Myanmar, but many may wonder what the cause of this is. Well firstly, the protests are from a successful coup committed by Myanmar’s military, overthrowing the democratic government and once again putting the small Asian country under military rule. While there is the threat of snipers on rooftops, and live shots fired from police on the front lines, the demonstrations will not stop with one saying “I will sacrifice my life for our future generations.”
After taking power, the military declared a year-long state of emergency with power being vested in Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services. The coup happened the day before the parliament was to swear in the members elected during the November 2020 general election, which ended in a massive landslide victory for the National League for Democracy, which is pro-democracy. The military additionally declared the results of this election invalid.
Recently, one of the bloodiest days of the protest occurred on Wednesday, March 3. The United Nations said that at least 38 people were killed. One of these protesters was 19-year old Kyal Sin, an icon to protests across the country. State-run media said that after a surgical examination of her body, it was concluded she was not killed by the police. This led to massive backlash from the public, accusing the authorities of an attempted cover-up. To make matters worse, over 1,700 protesters have been detained across the country according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. The AAPP also said that the detainees were “punched and kicked with military boots, beaten with police batons and then dragged into police vehicles,” Additionally stating that Security forces entered residential zones and shot at people’s houses, leading to the destruction of many homes. Most western countries have condemned the coup, with the Biden Administration saying they may impose tariffs on perpetrators of it.
One interesting aspect of what the military is doing to attempt to stop the protests is by at times fully shutting off the internet. After raiding telecommunications operators at gunpoint on the first day of the coup, they have repeatedly shut off the internet and removed access to social media sites. While the military has tried cruder forms of information restriction, they seem very serious about setting up digital fences to greatly filter what people can and can not do online. It has been said that this process could possibly take years to fully implement and may even require help from Beijing or Moscow according to experts, leading to an interesting dynamic for the relatively small country. Aside from leading to less personal freedom , doing this would have a massive impact on the country’s already struggling economy, by damaging local business interests and foreign investor confidence. This all comes as other countries are looking into similar models of the internet, with less personal freedom and more control over what people can and can’t see, which would lead to a more divided internet and world.
This could make a possibly grim future for the once democratic nation. The country has been under military rule from 1962 to 2011, only 10 years ago. Now that it is under military control once again it may stay as such for a long time.