Military Coup in Myanmar Upends the Budding Democracy
Once again, Myanmar (formerly Burma) is being led and controlled by the military forces who seized power in Monday’s coup d’etat, following the country’s parliamentary election. The election overwhelmingly reelected and affirmed the democratic leadership. Aung San Suu Kyi, the face of democracy in the country was arrested along with other government officials. Their whereabouts are unknown. From 1962 to 2011 Myanmar was ruled by the armed forces before the new government returned to civilian rule. Suu Kyi for years had been the voice of opposition against the ruling armed forces. She was kept under house arrest for 15 years. Hailed as the beacon of democracy, she received the Nobel peace prize in 1991.
However, Suu Kyi disappointed many of her supporters worldwide when she failed to stand up against the army’s crackdown on the minority Rohingya Muslims who suffered many atrocities at the army’s hand. Many sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. In the early morning hours on Monday, Ms. Suu Kyi (the country’s de facto leader) and President Win Myint, and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were arrested in a series of raids. The military has announced that the country will be in a one-year state of emergency. The military has assigned Vice President Myint Swe as head of the government for one year. He is a former military officer. Immediately after he was named president, Myint Swe handed power to the country’s top military commander, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
The ensuing issues the country is now facing include blocked internet and phone access, social media accounts are temporarily blocked, barbed-wire roadblocks have been set up across Yangon (formerly Rangoon), and military units appear outside of government buildings.
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