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Massive anti-coup protests have been organized across Myanmar despite the restrictions imposed by the military government. Photo supplied to Global Voices by a citizen journalist who did not wish to be identified.

Myanmar’s military grabbed power on February 1, after it accused the ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) of conspiracy and electoral fraud in the November 2020 general election.

Previously, Myanmar lived under a military dictatorship for several decades until political reforms led to civilian rule in 2010. During the historic 2015 election, the pro-democracy NLD defeated a military-backed party although the Tatmadaw, as the armed forces are called in Myanmar, are assured of representation in the Parliament, Cabinet, and other branches of government as stipulated in the military-drafted 2008 constitution.

The 2020 election was again dominated by the NLD, yet the military contested the results citing alleged massive irregularities in the roll of voters, and eventually arrested leaders of the NLD and top officials of the government. The military has vowed to conduct another election after implementing reforms.

The coup has been rejected by NLD supporters and citizens who consider the actions of the military a reversal of the country’s democratic transition. A civil disobedience movement was immediately launched to oppose the coup. Medical front-liners were among those who supported the campaign and community protests were organized every day despite the ban on mass gatherings.

The internet was disrupted several times, and the military has introduced a cybersecurity bill that allows authorities to block online content. A general strike was held on February 22, which succeeded in gathering a record number of participants across the country. On February 28, a nationwide crackdown led to the killing of at least 18 protesters. Hundreds have been arrested.

Global solidarity for Myanmar continues to grow stronger although the junta seems unfazed and determined to cling to power.

Global Voices’ coverage features stories and eyewitness accounts of citizen journalists, media partners, and local researchers.

Stories about The junta seizes Myanmar again. Will democracy prevail?

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