February 19, 2021

A summary of military rule and recent events in Myanmar

Myanmar gained its independence from the British Empire in 1948, and existed as a democratic nation until its military began five decades of oppressive rule in 1962, according to BBC.com. Two major protests, one in 1988 and another in 2007, left thousands dead.

A new constitution in 2008 opened the door to democracy, which finally took hold in 2015 with the election of Aung San Suu Kyi, head of the National League for Democracy (NLD).

As reported by news outlets around the world, Myanmar’s military commander Min Aung Hlaing led the Feb. 1 coup, citing yet-unproven fraud in the country’s November elections that led to another landslide victory for the NLD. He arrested Suu Kyi and other government leaders.

As of The Criterion going to press, BBC.com reported military attacks on peaceful protesters, tanks rolling through major cities, and military warnings that protesters could face up to 20 years in prison if they obstruct the armed forces. †


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