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The 2021 Mynamar Coup

Back in November of 2020, the Burmese political party, The National League of Democracy, that had held the majority vote for the previous term, won a landslide victory in their 2nd ever election. As the country rejoiced for the second term of the NLD, congratulations from the whole world poured in, but things were about to change.

To give a small background to the entire situation, understand this. After declaring independence from the British in 1948, Myanmar went into a pool of political and economic instability. To resolve political infighting, the military formed an internally elected government, which was overthrown by the Military’s coup of 1962, who under the leadership of Burmese politician and military commander Ne Win, exhausted their military rule for 26 years in the country. Then came the rise of Aang Su Kyi in 1988, an activist fighting for pro-democratic elections. Seeing the public response, the military regime agreed to a nationwide election to be held, in which Su Kyi’s party won. This hurt the military’s ego, in turn condemning the election fraud, placing Aang Su Kyi under house arrest, and again dictating military rule over the state until in 2011, after the drafting of the Nation’s constitution.

Another nationwide election was held in 2015, in which Su Kyi’s party, the NLD won the majority, with them agreeing to the military’s condition of being able to elect a quarter of the parliament. The elections for the 2nd term were held in Nov 2020, in which the NLD won a landslide victory against the military-backed opposition.

What happened now?

On the 1st of February 2021, the military of Myanmar held a coup against the to be elected officials, detaining them and putting around 400 officials, including President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest. The Military then declared a year-long state of emergency. Communication lines between officials and the outside world were cut off. As the NLD spokespersons relayed what was going on behind the scenes, the military quickly played their strings too. All financial services and bank accounts under the Myanmar bank associations were suspended, telephone lines to the Capitol Naypyidaw were cut, detention of many other non-political rivals was taken up, including several Buddhist monks who had been a part of the 8888 uprisings. Soldiers were drawn into the capitol and by nightfall, President Win signed a statement declaring that all judicial, and legislative responsibilities were transferred to Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw (The military-backed opposition). A session held by the Burmese National defense and security council convened, following which a statement was issued by the military declaring that fresh elections would be held, and that power would only be transferred after they had concluded.

But why did this coup take place?

After Aang Su Kyi’s party was bought back into power, the military, after committing this un-democratic act, issued several statements alleging that the NLD was guilty of committing mass election fraud. This move may have only been so that the Military can withhold their political motives and militarised rule in the country. Another theory present is that Aung Hlaing, because he was going to cross the age of 65 in July 2021, he’d have to depart from the Burmese military services, and then prosecuted for his alleged role in the Rohingya genocide in the ICJ.

Domestic and Global response:

  • Domestic protests are currently going on where there are rings for the freedom of the detained politicians and activists. Civil resistance has come up in many forms, both violent and non-violent. Banging pots and pans to spread the word, healthcare workers spreading the “red ribbon” movements, labor strikes, and an anti-military campaign have all been ways the currently, oppressed Burmese citizens are getting their voices heard by the backstabbing military and the international community

  • Global response: Most Asian, western, and European countries have either condemned or are concerned about the new military regime that has taken over Myanmar, with many countries, especially the united states warning the new regime with trade sanctions, an act that will only strengthen China’s financial powers with Myanmar

As this goes along, we stand with the Citizens of Myanmar. Now, as a part of the international community witnessing such political decisiveness and instability, we must wait and watch what happens next.

~ Amey Parekh


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