At least 18 people are reported to have been killed with many more injured by police forces as anti-coup protestors rally across the country.
Domestic forces initiated the crackdown on protestors on Saturday 27, after weeks of mostly peaceful demonstrations against the military coup which deposed the leader of the National League for Democracy, Aung San Suu Kyi. On February 1, the military, led by commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, seized control of the country following a landslide victory for Ms Suu Kyi’s NLD party in the general election. Myanmar has been a country fractured by civil war for much of its modern existence as strife between ethnic groups and in politics has revealed extensive human rights violations and systematic abuse towards civilians.
Footage shared on social media shows police using live rounds and tear gas to crush protests which have been continuous since the coup, civilians could been seen covered in blood and fighting on the streets of several cities including Mandalay, Yangon, Dawei. The military initiated the coup after claiming widespread electoral fraud and detained the country’s leader last month.
Myanmar, known as Burma until 1989, has historically experienced military regimes having been under British occupation until independence in 1948 and military rule from 1962 until 2011. Since civilian rule began with democratic elections in 2010, Myanmar had been governed by Ms Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, who won the first openly contested elections for 25 years in 2015. Suu Kyi, who had been under house-arrest as a political prisoner from 1989 to 2010, assumed a newly-created position of State Counsellor which is similar to Prime Minister as she was constitutionally barred from becoming President. She has since been detained as have other NLD party members under house-arrest where she has been charged a number of offences including possessing walkie-talkies, breaching Covid-19 restrictions last year and releasing information that may “cause fear or alarm”. (BBC News)
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