Violence not stopping daily protests . . .
Protests and a nationwide civil disobedience movement continue in Myanmar more than three weeks after the military seized power. On Monday, hundreds of thousands of protesters staged a massive general strike in Naypyidaw, the country’s capital. Nicknamed the ‘22222 Revolution,’ it is an echo of the August 8, 1988, anti-military protests of a previous generation known as the ‘8888 Uprising’. The military swiftly cracked down on demonstrations. Images surfaced on social media today of supporters of the military attacking anti-coup protestors with knives and slingshots. Eight people have been killed since the beginning of the coup, while more than 700 have been arrested, charged, or sentenced.
Foreign attempts at engaging military officials spark backlash . . .
Some countries’ willingness to engage with Myanmar’s military has sent mixed signals to protesters, with some accusing these high-level contacts of bolstering an illegitimate military regime's credibility. In the days before a meeting in Bangkok between Indonesia’s foreign minister and a representative of Myanmar’s military regime, protesters in Myanmar accused Jakarta of endorsing the coup by demanding a re-election instead of honouring the results of the November 8 elections in which the military-backed party suffered a humiliating defeat. A public outcry also followed a call between senior officers from Australia and Myanmar to secure the release of an Australian in Myanmar who worked as an advisor to deposed State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi.
Difficult way forward without compromise . . .
The international community appears to have reached a consensus on the future of Myanmar: stability and the return to the partial democracy that existed before the coup. But pundits question how much can be achieved through international mediation. The military is unwilling to give up power, and Aung San Suu Kyi remains detained. Protesters, meanwhile, are starting to demand more than just the restoration of the elected government. They want a federal democratic union inclusive of historically marginalized ethnic communities. As the two sides move further apart, a quick end to the conflict seems increasingly unlikely.
- Associated Press: Pro-military marchers in Myanmar attack anti-coup protesters
- The Diplomat: With Bangkok visit, Indonesian FM advances efforts to address Myanmar crisis
- Frontier Myanmar: Myanmar politics must be re-made, not restored