At least 570 people, including more than 40 children, were killed for two months of unrest. Authorities detained more than 2,720 politicians, activists and civil society figures. At least 25 journalists were in custody, while others reporting on the protests were brutally by state forces. Police and troops in Yangon on Tuesday drove Zarganar, the most famous comedian in the country, in a military vehicle under unspecified charges. Last week, the authorities issued a betrayal arrest warrants for at least 60 artists, writers, spies and other celebrities in the culture accused of spreading information that allegedly threatened national stability.
Last week, authorities further tightened broadband access restrictions, ordering private providers to suspend wireless data services. According to one research firm, Internet shutdowns in recent months in Myanmar may have already cost the local economy close to a billion dollars. This is the price the regime seems happy to pay to dissuade protesters from coordinating their actions and spreading further information. Fearless, dissidents approached older forms of communication, launching bad radio stations and the distribution of leaflets calling for a national boycott of the official state celebration of Thingyan, the traditional New Year in Myanmar, next week.
However, the resilience and determination of the demonstrators “are not unequivocally good news, because the military junta will not surrender, no matter the cost, leaving little hope for saving Myanmar’s political liberalization, economic reform and development progress during decades of civilian rule, ” written by Thitinan Pongsudhirak, a respected political scientist from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University. “Instead, the country faces an imminent threat of economic collapse, state implosion and internal conflicts – perhaps even a full-fledged civil war.”
While state authorities have shot at ordinary people gathering in the streets, more radical factions among protesters have beginning to accept armed resistance. Improvised weapons and tactical equipment appear in pockets on the front lines of the protest. Security forces “just shoot us. We have nothing. We just walk on [the] street with nothing in hand and then they shoot us “, an activist from Yangon who claims that he recently underwent training at a jungle camp told CNN. “It should be weapons and weapons, it should not be non-violence, and then weapons. That has become no choice for us. ”
With dramatic development, the anti-coup movement won support from multiple militia groups who claim to represent various marginalized ethnic minorities scattered across the country’s borders. For some in Myanmar’s major cities, the wickedness of the junta has awakened a newfound solidarity with communities long beaten or neglected by the state.
“They’ve all brainwashed us since we were little,” Yin Yin, a Yangon resident from most of Bamar State, told Foreign Policy magazine. “The military has done countless dirty deeds and cruel things in the past 70 years. The [non-Bamar] ethnic groups have struggled and faced it, and now we are all facing it. “
Although some Western governments have imposed sanctions on the regime, they do not have much influence over the junta. So far, the UN Security Council and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, the region’s main geopolitical bloc, have failed to gather any significant diplomatic response to the seemingly spiral crisis. The political instability that followed the coup led to rising fuel prices and, as a result, soaring food costs – forcing the UN World Food Program to warn of an increasing risk of food insecurity in parts of the country.
“Apart from being morally repulsive, the regime’s actions risk accelerating state collapse – where generals can control state traps but cannot impose their will on the country as a whole, maintain order or effectively manage and provide services,” he noted the International Crisis Group, the guardian of the conflict, in his latest report on Myanmar. “The growing level of violence strengthens the opposition and spreads the popular consensus that the return to military power must be prevented at all costs. The banking system is struggling, transport and logistics are crippled, and ports are paralyzed, leading the country into a spiraling economic crisis. “
The junta, however, is more interested in trying to crush its perceived enemies – and these are ethnic armed groups. a longtime target. “The gloves are being taken off, going back to the early 2000s when it was just a brutal war,” Steve Gumaer, president of Partners for Relief & Development, which works in the border states of Myanmar, told Today’s WorldView. He added that, despite their defiance, neither the protest movement nor the rebel militia “will stop this army. Without outside support, they really have no chance.”