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  • 작성자 사진Kim Si-eun

[World] Myanmar Coup d'Etat: A Powerful Oppressive Regime

No. 151 / Apr 19, 2021


Myanmar has been plagued by political instability since it gained independence from Britain in 1948. The country was ruled by armed forces from 1962 to 2011, when a new government was established. In the 1990s, Aung San Suu Kyi became known for her democratic movements. She spent nearly 15 years in detention for organizing rallies calling for democratic reform and free elections. While under house arrest, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 2015, she led the National League for Democracy (NLD) to victory in Myanmar’s first openly contested election in 25 years; however, the military still maintained substantial power.


The 2021 coup occurred following a general election in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD party won an overwhelming victory. The armed forces supported the opposition party, who demanded a recounting of the votes, claiming the widespread misconduct of the ruling party. The election commission said that there was no sufficient evidence to support these claims. The coup took place as a new parliament that was set to open. The military is now back in power and has declared a year-long emergency. Mrs. Suu Kyi has been held at an unknown location since the coup. She faces various charges, including violating the country’s colonial-era official secrets act, illegal possession of transceivers, and publishing information that could cause fear or alarm. Members of her NLD party are among those detained, just like her. Those who managed to escape arrest secretly formed a new group. Their leader urged protesters to defend themselves against the crackdowns.

Currently, Min Aung Hlaing, a military commander-in-chief, has taken power. He has long wielded significant political influence, successfully maintaining the power over the military, even as the country shifted toward democracy. He has received international condemnation and sanctions for his role in the military’s attack on ethnic minorities. In his first public comments after the coup, he tried to justify the takeover. He said that the military was on the side of ordinary people and would establish a true and disciplined democracy. The military says that it will hold a fair election once the state of emergency is over.


However, the military has since imposed intense restrictions, including curfews and restrictions on assembly. Security forces have used water cannons, rubber bullets, and live ammunition to disperse protesters. Hundreds of people, including children, have been killed in the process. Numerous countries have condemned this military takeover and subsequent crackdowns. The global community, including the European Union, responded with sanctions against the military officials. China blocked a United Nations Security Council statement condemning the coup, but supported calls for the release of Mrs. Suu Kyi and a return to democratic norms. Southeast Asian countries have also been pursuing diplomatic efforts to end the crisis. Mass protests have been taking place across the world outside Myanmar since the military seized control. In Korea, the Hankuk University of Foreign Studies condemned the military coup and issued a statement in 29 languages in support of their democracy. Social media has also been utilized to organize the labor strikes of the civil disobedience campaign and help inform other countries about the situation. As an awakened member of society, simply directing the proper criticism to those who deserve it could be considerable help to the people of Myanmar.


 

By Kim Si-eun, AG Reporter

monica1522@ajou.ac.kr

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