Protests continue despite intensified crackdowns . . .
Almost three weeks after the military seized power in Myanmar, protests have continued unabated even as the military intensified its crackdown on opponents. On Wednesday, hundreds of thousands took to the streets to reject the military’s assertion that the coup d’état had public support. In addition to the water cannons, rubber bullets, and slingshots used by riot police to disperse protesters, there have been repeated internet shutdowns, late-night arrests without warrants, and chaos caused by thugs believed to be dispatched by the military. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, Tom Andrews, raised concerns that violence could escalate following reports of a secretive trial for National League of Democracy’s (NLD) leader Aung San Suu Kyi and troop movements from the outlying regions towards Myanmar’s largest city Yangon.
United more than ever, but a nation still divided . . .
While NLD supporters, ethnic minorities, and youth activists are united against military rule, many diverge in their aims. Some simply want the return of the NLD government, while others demand constitutional changes to create a federal union. The military continues to employ a tactic of “divide and rule” by co-opting members of ethnic parties disaffected by the NLD, some of whom have joined the military’s administrative council to gain more concessions for their communities.
Foreign countries take action against junta rule . . .
Canada, the United Kingdom, and the European Union announced that they will impose sanctions on Myanmar’s generals, following the United States' lead. Indonesia has rallied fellow ASEAN members to discuss a common solution to the crisis in Myanmar. China, which has been under scrutiny as rumours alleging its involvement in the coup circulate on social media, reemphasized the importance of stability and maintained its position of non-interference. Some worry that external pressure will do little to stop the generals, who have shown no regard for international condemnation. A disconnect between rhetoric and action may also raise false hopes of meaningful support for ordinary people in Myanmar. As more weeks go by without co-ordinated international action, an enduring authoritarian rule under the junta seems ever more likely.
- The Diplomat: Opinion: This is Not the Time for Foreign Governments to Stay ‘Neutral’ in Myanmar
- Frontier Myanmar: Digital warfare: Myanmar’s cyber crackdown explained
- New Naratif: Myanmar Activist: We Want Our Own Script