Myanmar Military Coup


Gabby Jedziniak

This past Monday, the morning of February 1, the Myanmar military staged a coup following a general election in which Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.  Now that the military is in charge, they have declared a yearlong state of emergency. 

Myanmar is a country located in SouthEast Asia in between Bangladesh and Thailand, and has a population of about 54 million people. It gained independence from Britain in 1948. Since then Myanmar has had a complicated history of ruling systems. The country was actually ruled by the armed forces from 1962 to 2011. Then in 2011, a new government began the return of civilian rule. Now only about a decade later, their government has changed yet again. The coup had taken place because the armed forces had backed the opposition of NLD, who were demanding a “rerun of the vote” claiming widespread fraud, according to The New York Times. Despite a large amount of backlash, the election commission said that there was no evidence to support these claims.  

In power now is commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing. “He has long wielded significant political influence, successfully maintaining the power of the Tatmadaw – Myanmar’s military – even as the country transitioned towards democracy,” BBC says. Min Aung Hlaing has received international condemnation and sanctions for his alleged role in the military’s attacks on groups such as ethnic minorities. 

Now, many protesters have taken to the streets out of anger at the military’s action. The protests are said to be the largest protest in Myanmar since the Saffron Revolution in 2007, when thousands of monks rose up against the military regime. In response to protestors, the military has fired water cannons at them, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition. They have also imposed restrictions in some areas, including curfews and limits to gatherings. Since the military took power, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, known for her Nobel Peace Prize and some of the other members of her party have been detained and will possibly be brought to court over “illegally importing at least ten walkie-talkies.” 

As of now, not much has been announced from Myanmar, but many other countries are placing sanctions, condemning the military’s actions, and the country has even received negative comments from the UN.