Myanmar marks 2nd year of military overthrow of civilian government

Supporters of Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement pledged a nationwide boycott of all economic activity on Wednesday to mark the second anniversary of the overthrow of the civilian government by the military.

Leaders urged businesses to close shops and residents to stay home as part of the “silent strike” against the military junta following the overthrow of Aung San Suu Kyi and her government on February 1, 2021.

Photos posted on social media showed the streets of Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital, mostly deserted.

The National League for Democracy, Suu Kyi’s party, won a landslide victory in the November 2020 elections against the military-backed United Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The junta claimed that widespread electoral fraud was the reason for overthrowing the civilian government and nullifying the election results. The civilian election commission denied the charges before being disbanded.

The coup immediately led to anti-junta protests across Myanmar that resulted in the deaths of more than 2,900 civilians and more than 18,000 military arrests, according to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association, a group independent monitoring. The unrest has also escalated into a deadly rural conflict between the army and armed forces aided by several rebel ethnic groups who have fought for greater autonomy for decades.

Elected lawmakers who were ousted from their seats after the 2021 coup formed a shadow government, the National Unity Government, which called for a nationwide uprising against the junta. Suu Kyi, who led the civilian government as a state councilor, is serving a total of 33 years in prison after being convicted in a series of trials with multiple criminal charges brought by the military.

The junta is expected to announce on Wednesday whether to extend the state of emergency or press ahead with plans to hold general elections this year, which activists say is a sham.

The United States, Australia, Britain and Canada announced a series of new sanctions against Myanmar’s junta ahead of Wednesday’s anniversary, including against a military-approved election commission as well as businesses supported by the army.

The most significant sanctions were imposed by Britain and Canada against companies that had supplied the junta with jet fuel to launch airstrikes against pro-democracy forces and their allied rebel ethnic groups in areas rural areas of Myanmar. [uh/ab]

Chad Sutton

"Typical zombieaholic. General twitter fanatic. Food fanatic. Gamer. Unapologetic analyst."

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