World At least 18 protesters were killed amid intensifying pro-democracy demonstrations in Myanmar
Myanmar’s Digital Insurgents Have Finally Found a Way to Hurt the Junta
This story was produced in partnership with Coda Story. One month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country. Now, in addition to taking their anger to the streets, an underground movement of pro-democracy activists has unleashed a raft of new digital tools on the armed forces and police. Myanmar’s powerful militaryOne month after Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup and declared a year-long state of emergency, daily protests continue to shake cities and towns across the country.
Myanmar’s military government intensified its crackdown on the country’s pro-democracy protest movement on Sunday, firing at demonstrators gathered in Myanmar’s largest cities, and killing at least 18 people, according to the.
For nearly a month, a growing coalition of protesters has demanded the end of military rule in Myanmar, following athat led to the arrest of the nation’s civilian leaders on February 1. Demonstrations have taken place continuously across the country, taking the form of , the halting of , and .
Australian government condemns violence against Myanmar protesters against military coup
The United Nations says more than 50 people have been killed since protests against a February 1 military coup started in Myanmar, prompting Australia to reshape its diplomatic relationship with the country.The United Nations said security forces have killed more than 50 people to stamp out daily demonstrations and strikes in the South-East Asian nation since the military overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1.
These protests culminated in a nationwide strike last Monday, February 22, that millions participated in, according to the, generally known as the “ .” As , the strike saw “protesters take to the streets of Myanmar’s cities; stores, banks, and shut down in solidarity. Protesters chose the date because it echoes the against military rule, which the military suppressed in a bloody crackdown.”
Ahead of that strike, thethat seemed to reference the 1988 crackdown, saying, “Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life.”
Human Rights Watch slams Woodside over Myanmar energy developments
Human Rights Watch accuses the Australian energy giant of sitting back and hedging its bets in its own self-interest instead of joining several Western governments in condemning the junta and its coup.Dozens of governments have condemned Myanmar's army after it seized power and arrested dozens of elected leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi, on February 1.
Sunday, the military showed its words were not an empty threat.
In Yangon, a protester named Yan told the, “First they shot with real bullets, then tear gas. Later they used rubber bullets,” and stressed that the military gave only a whistle as a warning before shooting into the crowd. Yan said he personally saw at least six people shot, including a protester who was shot in the head and died.
In Mandalay, the second largest city in Myanmar, protester and doctor U Si Thu told thehe was with a group of about 50 protesters who found themselves being shot at by police and military officials. At least three people in his group were shot, Si Thu said, including a man wearing a motorcycle helmet who medical professionals were unable to save.
“I don’t know where the bullet came from, but the man was shot in the forehead and went down,” Si Thu said, telling the Times that after that man was shot, army vehicles blocked the street his group was on, and fired again, hitting the other two people who were wounded.
Women's clothes help protesters skirt Myanmar's junta
Sarong-like cloths strung out on lines may seem innocuous, but long-held superstitions around women's clothes appear to have stopped security forces in their tracks as they move to quell an uprising against Myanmar's junta. The latest involves hanging women's undergarments and long skirts -- or longyis -- on a clothesline across the street. According to old Myanmar traditions, women's lower parts and the garments that cover them can sap power -- known as "hpone" -- from men."If they go under a women's longyi, that means their hpone is destroyed," activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi told AFP.
Similar narratives have emerged throughout Myanmar, leading to over 30 protesters being wounded, according to the United Nations; a doctor told thethe number of wounded may actually be far higher, saying that at least 50 people were wounded in his city, Dawei, alone.
Protesters are demanding a civilian government
Broadly, the protesters are demanding that the government they elected last year be restored. Since, Myanmar has had a joint military-civilian government, led on the civilian side by Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party — the National League for Democracy — often dominated elections, including the one that led to the coup.
In November 2020, the National League for Democracy won, a result that, as noted, “seemingly gave them a mandate to pursue constitutional reforms” that the military had long opposed — namely, limited the military’s role in the government.
In response to the NLD’s landslide victory in November, the military and its political arm immediately, though and the nation’s electoral commission declared there had been no significant problems. They went so far as to demand a new, .
Facebook removes main page of Myanmar military for 'incitement of violence'
Facebook has come under heavy criticism for failing to contain online hate campaigns in Myanmar, despite having banned army chief Min Aung Hlaing — now the military ruler — in 2018."In line with our global policies, we've removed the Tatmadaw True News Information Team Page from Facebook for repeated violations of our Community Standards prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm," a Facebook representative said in a statement.
Then ... a military spokesperson warned that the armed forces might “” if their assertions of fraud weren’t taken seriously and notably refused to rule out a coup. Citing a , the military said it could launch a coup if the nation’s sovereignty was threatened and declare a national emergency.
And the military did indeed launch a coup. Whileexactly why it did so, the result has been clear: Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint (along with dozens of other politicians, officials, and activists) have been detained and face both trial and imprisonment, and millions have demanded that the military give them what they voted for — a civilian government led by the National League for Democracy.
The military government has responded to these demands by working to curtail communication, including by blocking internet access, and by detaining protesters; according to the, a human rights organization based in Thailand, as of February 28, at least 1,132 people have been arrested, charged, or sentenced in relation to the coup since it began.
Despite these arrests — and shootings like those seen on Sunday — the pro-democracy demonstrations continue, proof that, as Kirby has written, “the Myanmar coup is not going as planned.”
Three police officers from coup-hit Myanmar seek refuge in India
Police constables cross over to India’s Mizoram to avoid carrying out Myanmar military’s orders, says Indian official.The three men came across the border near the town of North Vanlaiphai on Wednesday afternoon and the local authorities were assessing their health and making arrangements for them, the police superintendent in Mizoram’s Serchhip district said.
There is some concern violence could escalate, as it did in 1988. Protests that year came to an end after about 3,000 people were killed, another 3,000 were imprisoned, and roughly 10,000 were forced to flee the country, according to.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres “strongly condemned” Sunday’s violence,, and called on the world “to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression.”
Guterres’ statement comes after formercondemned the military government at the UN on Friday, saying its actions are “not acceptable in this modern world,” and requesting the “strongest possible action from the international community” to end military rule. The ambassador was fired by his government after his remarks, but the UN does not recognize the coup as legitimate, and will reportedly as his country’s representative.
A number of foreign governments have signaled solidarity with the protesters. “We stand with the people of Burma,”said ahead of the February 22 strike. The United States has condemned the actions of the military, and imposed sanctions on military leaders, cutting them off from about .
But as former US ambassador to Myanmar Derek Mitchell told therecently, the US doesn’t “have a whole lot of leverage” over the military government.
UN envoy calls for action against Myanmar junta over bloodshed
UN envoy calls for action against Myanmar junta over bloodshedThe Southeast Asian country has been plunged into turmoil since the military overthrew and detained elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Feb. 1, with daily protests and strikes that have choked business and paralysed administration.
“The key is our allies,” Mitchell said. “That’s a very difficult path, because some of our allies — Japan, India, Korea — have a lot of investment. They will be worried about growing Chinese influence there.”
China, Myanmar’s neighbor to the northeast, has largely taken a hands off approach thus far, with asaying on February 22, “We hope that all parties will properly handle their differences under the Constitution and legal framework to maintain political and social stability.”
And many of Myanmar’s other neighbors have advocated for a similar approach., or the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a member, responded to the coup with a call for “dialogue, reconciliation and the return to normalcy.” Member nations released a separate statement saying they “take the political situation in Myanmar seriously,” and have called for a special session to discuss the situation, but thus far no .
Despite all this, it appears protests will continue. Yan, the protester in Yangon, told the Post that the shootings by security forces have only made protesters “angrier.” However, the military government has shown no signs it is willing to consider the changes Yan and his fellow protesters are calling for.
Myanmar asks India to return police who fled coup .
Several officers reportedly crossed the border after refusing to carry out the military junta's orders.Indian officials said the officers and their families had crossed the border in recent days.