Following the military coup d’etat in the beginning of February, Myanmar (also known as Burma) has seen numerous protests turn violent. The National League for Democracy (NLD) and the party’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, were stripped of their political power during a military take-over of the nation’s government last month. On Feb. 1, 2021, Myanmar’s army stormed the nation’s capital after claims of election fraud and detained Kyi while removing the elected government from office. Numerous military generals have been implemented into leading government positions.
Since the coup began, two NLD party figures have died in the military’s custody, while more than 60 protesters have been killed. Zaw Myat Linn and Khin Maung Latt, the NLD party members who have died in the military’s custody, were both arrested during anti-coup demonstrations in early March according to Aljazeera.
Large protests have swept the country as the state-run media warned anyone involved in the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH) are committing “high treason” and could be sentenced to 22 years imprisonment or death. The military coup has upended daily life in Myanmar, causing hundreds of thousands of people to express frustrations and disapproval in the streets.
Meanwhile, civil servants and other essential workers have stopped working in protest against the army. According to Aljazeera, an alliance of influential worker unions has called for an extensive nationwide strike with the intention of causing a “full, extended shutdown” of the nation’s economy.
The widespread protests in the Southeast Asian nation have been met with extreme force. At least five people were wounded on Sunday, March 7, in Bagan, the nation’s former capital according to eyewitnesses. Security forces have killed over 60 protesters, often using live ammunition, as the civil unrest continues to increase, according to Aljazeera and the Irrawaddy, Myanmar’s popular news source.
Following protests in the Sagaing Region of Myanmar on Thursday, Mar. 18, thousands have fled their homes in Depayin Township. According to the military-controlled state media, three police officers, including a police captain, were confronted by protesters while on their way into the township. Two officers died as a result of the subsequent conflict between the two groups. This prompted the military to carry out a violent raid in Tei Taw village in the Sagaing Region, according to the Irrawaddy. Six people were arrested and two houses were burned as a result of the raid Thursday night.
Early on Friday, Mar. 19, two-hundred police officers and soldiers stormed a monastery in Thapyay Gone village. During their raid of the monastery, other officers were deployed back to Tei Taw to search abandoned houses for any remaining villagers. These actions have prompted several thousand people in surrounding villages to flee their homes in preparation for more military raids.
As of Mar. 19, the nation’s death toll during the protests has reached 231 people. Many people in Myanmar are seeking help from neighboring nations in their fight against the military coup and the resulting actions of violence.
Sources: Aljazeera, The Irrawaddy