The Coup in Myanmar

Protests in Myanmar
Protestors in Myanmar want the military to free their leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar is the 10th largest country in Asia and home to about 54 million people. On February 1, the army took control of the country. The military removed the country’s elected leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and her government from power. Ms. Suu Kyi and several people who work with her are being held by the military.

Ms. Suu Kyi has been the leader of Myanmar since her political party won the country’s elections in 2015. Since then, however, the army has kept control of much of the government. The day the military took over, many people who have worked to keep Myanmar a democracy were taken to jail. The country’s main airport was closed, flights were cancelled, and the internet and cell phones stopped working for a time as the military worked to control information and the flow of people into and out of the country.

The military announced that the army’s leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, was now in charge of the country. They would keep the country under a state of emergency for a year and then hold new elections.

Why did the military take this step? The military’s leaders claimed that the country’s election in November was unfair. They said that violence had kept many people from voting. Most people in Myanmar, however, don’t believe that the military was motivated by unfair elections. General Min Aung Hlaing’s time as army leader was going to end in the summer of 2021. With the military takeover of the government, he will retain his power.

Most countries around the world have condemned this action, and Myanmar’s citizens have taken to the streets to protest and demand their leader be freed. The military has cracked down on the protesting citizens, but many businesses have closed at certain times of the day to allow their employees to join the protests. 

What Do You Think? Why do you think the military wanted to take over the country of Myanmar? Do you think the protests will help the situation? Why or why not?

Photo Credit: Xiao Long/UPI/Alamy Stock Photo