Resistance to the Junta in Myanmar

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On the first anniversary of the brutal military coup in Myanmar, a growing resistance movement continues to fight for democratic rights.

  • Millions of people in Myanmar on Tuesday found an ingenious way to protest the brutal junta that seized control of the country in a military coup one year ago.
  • Rather than pour onto the streets and subject themselves to violence at the hands of a military that has committed a number of atrocities against its own people, protesters held a “silent strike.”
  • Residents stayed indoors and closed shops for the day, leaving cities across Myanmar nearly deserted.
  • The protest marked the first anniversary of the coup that toppled the government of Aung San Suu Kyi. At the time, the military brutally cracked down on massive street protests, killing hundreds.
  • Resistance to military rule has formed since then, with some citizens forming guerrilla groups. More than 400,000 people have been displaced by the conflict.
  • Until the coup, the country had taken tentative steps toward democracy. Myanmar was ruled by a military dictatorship for decades leading up to Suu Kyi’s election in 2015.
  • Suu Kyi—once seen as human rights icon—fell from grace during her reign after defending the military against charges of genocide for its brutal treatment of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority.
  • Now the military has jailed Suu Kyi. Among the country’s Buddhist majority, she’s still largely seen as a symbol of the struggle for democratic rights.
  • Over the last year, the country has been hit hard by rising poverty and crises in its banking sector and healthcare system, only further stoking resentment of the junta.
  • Despite the military’s efforts to crush dissent, the resistance movement—composed largely of young people willing to risk their lives and face unjust prosecution—has only grown.
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