Myanmar military seizes power, detains elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi

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In the early hours of Monday morning on February 1st, 2021 (early Sunday morning in the U.S.), the Myanmar Military (Tatmadaw) seized control over the government, declaring a one-year State of Emergency to investigate voter fraud; just hours before the new Parliament were due to start. The Military claims to have identified 10.5 million instances of voter fraud and has detained the country’s president, U Win Myint, State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD) Lawmakers and members of the Central Executive Committee, in addition to influential entertainer-(Hollywood type) activists.

A former General, the current Vice President, U Win Myint Swe, will serve as the acting President until the Emergency declaration has ended and a new election occurs. Though Aung San Suu Kyi cannot be President because her two sons are British citizens and the President must have military experience (per the Myanmar constitution), she is the de facto head of government as the State Counsellor and leader of the parliamentary majority ruling NLD party.

In 2016, Aung San Suu Kyi apologized for not becoming Myanmar’s President and stated, “I’ll run the government and we’ll have a president who will work in accordance with the policies of the NLD.

On November 8th, 2020, Myanmar held its parliamentary elections, and the National League for Democracy (NLD) party appeared to have won the election by a landslide over the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). The NLD and USDP are the two largest political parties in Myanmar.

As with some countries holding elections during a global pandemic, special provisions were afforded due to the CCPVirus, which included “advanced voting” for certain populations.

On January 26th, numbers and lists became available regarding the 2020 election results. Tatmadaw demanded clarity from the Union Election Commission (UEC) regarding the 10 million cases of voter irregularities, but none has been given. The official government organization claims that it is acting within the charter and election laws.

Human rights groups have criticized the UEC for lack of transparency on their decision-making process after canceling voting in 15 townships and parts of 42 others during the 2020 parliamentary election.

Myanmar is plagued with two major human rights problems, and neither has improved under military or civilian rule. One is the genocide of the Rohingya people, and the other is human trafficking. According to the U.S. State Department, Burma is a Tier 3 level human trafficking perpetrator.

Myanmar is a very new Democracy that was previously governed by the military. Under the Obama Administration, Hillary Clinton, U.S. Secretary of State, became active in developing relations with Burma/Myanmar and worked towards a Democratic form of Government with the nation’s leaders.

This would eventually create an opening for economic opportunities and foreign investment. In 2011, Hillary Clinton was the first U.S. Secretary of State to visit Myanmar in decades. Hillary coordinated closely with Aung San Suu Kyi, the NLD party leader, on how to proceed forward. Suu Kyi was treated to a visit at the Obama White House and spoke at the 2011 Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. President Obama also made a personal visit to Myanmar in 2012 and was met with much opposition as the perception of the U.S. was not favorable at that time.

In 2015, a company named Wiredcraft was tasked with building the voter registration system for the 2016 Myanmar elections. Wiredcraft was tasked to build the system by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and the Union Election Commission (UEC). The UEC is Myanmar’s national-level electoral commission. The IFES is a United States-based group out of Arlington, Virginia, whose mission states, “together we build democracies that deliver for all” and is partly funded by USAID and the U.S. Department of State, among other International donors.

It is unclear what system or software the country uses to administer official elections.

China expert Jack Posobiec of One America News tweeted that the military “was upset that Aung San Suu Kyi was becoming too close to the CCP.

China’s President Xi Jinping just visited the country for the first time in nearly 20 years with promises of a series of investments in the region.

Though it is still unclear how everything will play out in Myanmar, no international authority should be condemning the actions of or calling for consequences at this point in time. If, in fact, the military can prove what they claim about the election results, the international community would be better suited to adopt a wait and see posture until more information is made available. This matter impacts the former Obama administration, Hillary Clinton’s State Department, the United Nations, China, and others who will try to control the narrative every step of the way. In Myanmar, the social media giants don’t have near the power over elections that they do in the U.S. though they are trying.


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Twin_Moose

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It is unclear what happened to former central bank chief Kyaw Kyaw Maung, but deputy governor Bo Bo Nge has been detained, according to media reports. Than Nyein, who served as central banker under the previous junta before the first free election in decades in 2015, has been reappointed to the role.

The Bank of Japan, like most central banks around the world, is watching carefully, to see how the military leaders could affect bilateral and regional cooperation on monetary policy and financial stability.
 

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petros

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Of course. English is always the language to protest in.
 
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spaminator

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Two killed in Mandalay city in bloodiest day of Myanmar protests
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Feb 20, 2021 • 13 hours ago • 4 minute read
Rescue workers carry an injured man after protests against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 20, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. ORG XMIT: GGGMM01
Rescue workers carry an injured man after protests against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar, February 20, 2021. PHOTO BY STRINGER /REUTERS
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Two people were killed in Myanmar’s second city Mandalay on Saturday when police and soldiers fired to disperse protests against a Feb. 1 military coup, emergency workers said, the bloodiest day in more than two weeks of demonstrations.

Protesters took to the streets in cities and towns across Myanmar with members of ethnic minorities, poets, rappers and transport workers among those demanding an end to military rule and the release from detention of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and others.


Tensions escalated quickly in Mandalay where police and soldiers confronted striking shipyard workers and other protesters.

Some of the demonstrators fired catapults at police as they played cat and mouse through riverside streets. Police responded with tear gas and gunfire, and witnesses said they found the cartridges of both live rounds and rubber bullets on the ground.

“Twenty people were injured and two are dead,” said Ko Aung, a leader of the Parahita Darhi volunteer emergency service.

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One man died from a head wound, media workers including Lin Khaing, an assistant editor with the Voice of Myanmar media outlet in the city, and a volunteer doctor said.

Ko Aung and the doctor said a second man was shot in the chest and died later of his wound. He was identified by relatives as Thet Naing Win, a 36-year-old carpenter.

“They took away the body to the morgue. I cannot bring him back home. Although my husband died, I still have my son,” his wife, Thidar Hnin, told Reuters by phone. “I haven’t been involved in this movement yet but now I am going to … I am not scared now.”

Several other injured protesters were carried away on stretchers by volunteer medics, their clothes soaked in blood.

Police were not available for comment.

A young woman protester, Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, died on Friday after being shot in the head last week as police dispersed a crowd in the capital, Naypyitaw, the first death among anti-coup demonstrators.

The army says one policeman has died of injuries sustained in a protest.


U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said the United States was “deeply concerned” by reports that security forces had fired on protesters and continued to detain and harass demonstrators and others.

“We stand with the people of Burma,” Price wrote on Twitter. Myanmar is also known as Burma.

Britain said it would consider further action against those involved in violence against protesters, and the French foreign ministry called the violence “unacceptable.”

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“The shooting of peaceful protesters in Myanmar is beyond the pale,” British foreign minister Dominic Raab said in tweet. “We will consider further action, with our international partners, against those crushing democracy & choking dissent.”

The United States, Britain, Canada and New Zealand have announced limited sanctions since the coup, with a focus on military leaders.

State television MRTV’s evening news broadcast made no mention of the protests or casualties.

In the main city Yangon, residents again banged pots and pans in a nightly ritual in defiance of the coup. Outside the U.S. Embassy in the city, dozens of protesters, mostly women, gathered at twilight for a candlelit vigil, singing anti-coup songs.

More than a fortnight of demonstrations and a civil disobedience campaign of strikes and disruptions show no sign of dying down. Opponents of the coup are skeptical of the army’s promise to hold a new election and hand power to the winner.

The demonstrators are demanding the restoration of the elected government and the release of Suu Kyi and others. They have also called for the scrapping of a 2008 constitution that has assured the army a major role in politics since nearly 50 years of direct military rule ended in 2011.

The army seized back power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy swept, detaining her and others. The electoral commission had dismissed the fraud complaints.

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Nevertheless, the army says its action is within the constitution and is supported by a majority of the people. The military has blamed protesters for instigating violence.

Crowds also gathered on Saturday in the northern town of Myitkyina, the ancient capital of Bagan and in Pathein in the Irrawaddy river delta, pictures on social media showed.

Even before the coup, junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was already under sanctions from Western countries following the crackdown on the Rohingya. There is little history of Myanmar’s generals, with closer ties to China and to Russia, giving in to Western pressure.

Suu Kyi faces a charge of violating a Natural Disaster Management Law as well as illegally importing six walkie-talkie radios. Her next court appearance is on March 1.

Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 546 people had been detained, with 46 released, as of Friday.
 

spaminator

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'EVERYONE IS JOINING': Myanmar gripped by strike as anti-coup protests build
Author of the article:Reuters
Reuters
Publishing date:Feb 22, 2021 • 15 hours ago • 3 minute read

Protesters hold a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Embassy during a demonstration against the military coup in Yangon on Feb. 21, 2021. PHOTO BY SAI AUNG MAIN /AFP via Getty Images
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Businesses shut in Myanmar on Monday in a general strike called to oppose the military coup and thousands of protesters gathered despite a threat from authorities that confrontation could cost lives.

Three weeks after seizing power, the junta has failed to stop daily protests and a civil disobedience movement calling for the reversal of the Feb. 1 coup and release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


“Everyone is joining this,” said San San Maw, 46, at the Hledan junction in the main city of Yangon, which has become a rallying point for the protests. “We need to come out.”

In a country where dates are seen as auspicious, protesters noted the significance of the date 22.2.2021, comparing it to demonstrations on Aug. 8 1988 when a previous generation staged anti-military protests which were bloodily suppressed.

The response of security forces this time has been less deadly, but at least three protesters have now been killed after two were shot dead in the second city of Mandalay on Saturday. One policeman died of injuries in protests, the army has said.

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The deaths in Mandalay did not discourage protesters on Sunday, when they turned out again in tens of thousands there and in Yangon.


State-owned media MRTV warned protesters against action on Monday.

“Protesters are now inciting the people, especially emotional teenagers and youths, to a confrontation path where they will suffer the loss of life,” it said.

Htet Htet Hlaing, 22, said she was scared and had prayed before joining Monday’s demonstration, but would not be discouraged.

“We don’t want the junta, we want democracy. We want to create our own future,” she said. “My mother didn’t stop me from coming out, she only said ‘take care’.”


Police officers stand in front of people who protest against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar, Feb. 20, 2021. PHOTO BY STRINGER /REUTERS
As well as local stores, international chains announced closures on Monday, including Yum Brands Inc.’s KFC and delivery service Food Panda, owned by Delivery Hero. Southeast Asian company Grab stopped delivery services too, but left its taxis running.

Authorities were “exercising utmost restraint,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. It rebuked some foreign countries for remarks it described as flagrant interference in Myanmar’s internal affairs.

Several Western countries have condemned the coup and decried the violence against protesters.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter the United States would continue to “take firm action” against authorities violently cracking down on opponents of the coup in the Southeast Asian country that is also known as Burma.

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“We stand with the people of Burma,” he said.

Britain, Germany, Japan and Singapore have also condemned the violence and U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said lethal force was unacceptable.

Residents in Yangon said roads to some embassies, including the U.S. embassy, were blocked on Monday. The diplomatic missions have become gathering points for protesters calling for foreign intervention.

U.N special rapporteur on human rights to Myanmar, Tom Andrews, said he was deeply concerned by the junta’s warning to protesters.

“Unlike 1988, actions by security forces are being recorded and you will be held accountable,” he said on Twitter.

The army seized power after alleging fraud in Nov. 8 elections that were swept by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), detaining her and much of the party leadership. The electoral commission dismissed the fraud complaints.

Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners said 640 people have been arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup – including former members of government and opponents of the army takeover.