Scores of people have taken to the streets across Myanmar to protest against a coup staged by the armed forces. The police responded to the demonstration by firing water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition. In the military coup, Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has now been with his party members.
So what is really happening in Myanmar?
Myanmar's military has now declared a state of emergency in the country for a year. The military seized control on February 1 after Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won the election. Launching from the BBC, the armed forces which supported the opposition, demanded a re-vote and claimed the victory was a fraud.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission said there was no evidence to support the claim. The coup itself occurred when a new session of parliament was about to open. Suu Kyi is currently under house arrest and charged with possessing illegally imported walkie-talkies. A number of other NLD officials are currently being detained.
Who leads Myanmar now? Power in Myanmar is currently handed over to Supreme Commander Min Aung Hlaing. He is a figure with significant political influence, successfully maintaining the strength of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar military) even at a time when the country was in transition to democracy. Min Aung Hlaing has received international condemnation and sanctions for his alleged role in military attacks against ethnic minorities. After the coup, he issued his first public comments seeking to justify his actions by calling the military on the side of the people and will establish a true and just democracy. He said the military would hold free and fair elections after the state of emergency was over.
Myanmar community demonstrations took place in response to this coup. The biggest demonstration that took place was the so-called Saffron Revolution in 2007 when thousands of monks rose up to protest against the military regime. The demonstration this time included teachers, lawyers, students, bank employees and government officials. Launching Kompas.com (12/2/2021), General Min Aung Hlaing threatened to impose "effective action" on the demonstrators if they did not stop their actions and return to work. On Thursday (11/2/2021) night, Min Aung Hlaing has called for civil servants to return to work after conducting a national strike.
Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?
The figure of Aung San Suu Kyi has been famous since 1990 for campaigning to restore democracy. He spent 15 years in prison from 1989-2010 after organizing demonstrations calling for democratic reform and free elections. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize when he was under house arrest in 1991.
In 2015 he led the NLD and won victory in Myanmar's elections openly contested in 25 years. Suu Kyi's international reputation has been damaged by Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya minority. Suu Kyi appeared before the International Court of Justice in 2019 and denied allegations that the military was committing genocide.