February 28, 2021

A Voice of Resistance from Myanmar

The streets of Myanmar today echo with protests demanding Justice and a return to civilian rule.
Keywords: Myanmar | Military | Tatmadaw | Aung San Suu Kyi | Democracy | NLD | Protest   
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The Myanmar Military (Tatmadaw)  arrested leading members of the democratically elected Government on the morning of February 1, 2021 in the wake of the latest national elections. The President, U Win Myint  and State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi were detained along with several ministers, their deputies and members of parliament. The Military Commanders announced a year-long state of emergency from the army-controlled MWD TV. Myanmar, Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has taken over as the leader. He said in his public comments after the coup that the forces were on the side of the people and would form a “true and disciplined democracy”. 

However, the military has also cut off internet, phone lines and National TV Channels,  blocking the flow of information from the nation to the outside world. The widespread protest on the streets are eerily similar to the occurrences of 1988. 

In 1988, nationwide protests dubbed as the 8888 Uprising had broken out in Myanmar, which was then under military rule. The 8888 Nationwide Popular Pro-Democracy Protests were a series of nationwide protests, marches and civil unrest in Burma (now Myanmar) that peaked in August 1988. The key events occurred on 8 August 1988 and therefore became known as the 8888 Uprising. The protests began as a student movement and were organised largely by university students at the Rangoon Arts and Sciences University and the Rangoon Institute of Technology. Many protesters and students were killed and the streets were awash with blood. Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi led the revolt against the then-dictator, General Ne Win and became a notable pro-democracy activist during this period. Ultimately, her democratic political party National League for Democracy (NLD) landslide won the election of 1990. Even so, the military refused to cede power and placed her under house arrest for around 21 years. 

Myanmar was under military rule until 2011 when the power was finally transferred over to the democratic system. The National League for Democracy continued to win a supermajority in both houses of the parliament, in the 2012 and in 2015 elections.

Once again, the recently held 2020 general election resulted in a landslide victory for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party. However, the military rejected the results and took over the country after calling the elections fraudulent.

The streets of Myanmar today echo with protests demanding Justice and a return to civilian rule. Civil resistance efforts have emerged all over the country in opposition to the military coup in many forms. Even government employees and healthcare workers from hospitals are participating in the Civil Disobedience movement. Pots and pan banging movements happen at every 8pm; the red ribbon campaign, the ‘stop buying Junta business’ public protests, the 3 fingers salute and massive efforts to reach out to the world through social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter are being resorted to once again by the citizens of the nation.

On Feb 8, the ruling Junta imposed Martial law (curfew from 8 pm to 4am) in Myanmar followed with massive arrests and detainment. Despite that protesters have continued their actions till today in peaceful ways. However, the military has mercilessly cracked down on the anti-coup protesters.

On February 9, Youth Student protester Myat Thet Thet Khaing from the capital city of Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw  was shot by the police while she was trying to take cover from the water cannons. She is in critical condition with a bullet in the head. Many other protesters from Mandalay have been hit by rubber bullets. Now in Myanmar, the military is not only breaking their own rules but also breaking into people’s houses stealthily. Despite the curfew, the police are arresting innocent civilians and politicians of the elected NLD party without warrants at night. Our nights have become more terrible day by day . 

The Military Media (MWD/MRTV Channels) are broadcasting fake news with old data. Both channels are under Military control & Military Media. They are broadcasting how people are at peace, crowding at pagodas, and students are attending schools. Their news is severely biased towards the military dictatorship, spreading  misinformation about the nationwide protests and trying to cover up the crimes of the armed forces against citizens. 

The fight for our leader, and for democracy will never stop. This is our life’s mission. The global community must step in to help Myanmar.

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Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing

The writer is a young pro-democracy activist from Myanmar

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