Skip to content

Illustration by Security Management

Mass Protests Continue in Myanmar After Coup

Huge protests were held in Myanmar for the third straight day—as well as a nationwide strike—to oppose the military coup that overthrew the landslide election of democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The military seized power in Myanmar last week, placing Suu Kyi and senior leaders of the National League for Democracy Party under house arrest. The military declared a yearlong state of emergency in Myanmar, handing over power to General Min Aung Hlaing. Suu Kyi has been charged with illegally importing walkie-talkies, and at least 160 other people have been detained since the military seized power, Reuters reported.

In his first television address since the coup, the general attempted to justify that action, saying that November’s election had been unfair—a claim that is disputed by voting commissions amid a lack of evidence of widespread voter fraud. He promised new elections, overseen by a new “reformed” election commission. The military has begun to impose restrictions during the mass protests, including curfews and limits to gathering sizes in different regions, according to the BBC.

While the general’s address did not directly threaten protesters, a previous state TV broadcast had warned that “action must be taken, according to the law…against offenses that disturb, prevent, and destroy state stability, public safety, and the rule of law.”

However, citizens seem committed to the ongoing protests and strikes. On Monday, tens of thousands of people gathering in the capital, Naypyidaw, for a strike. Over the weekend, protesters gathered in Myanmar’s most populated city, Yangon, carrying banners and flags, waving a three-fingered salute, and chanting anti-military slogans, NPR reported.

Unlike during bloody crackdowns in previous protests in 1988 and 2006, there were few reports of violence so far, although police have used water cannons to try to break up a rally.