It marked the bloodiest day in Myanmar since the state planned the coup interrupted its newly formed democracy On February 1, they arrested hundreds of politicians and activists and invoked an emergency rule. Authorities launched a brutal operation against the protesters, who repeatedly defied the threat of violence take to the streets and advocate for the restoration of democracy. More than 400 people have been killed so far, while hundreds more have been arrested. On Sunday, as friends and relatives of the victims mourned their loved ones, there was at least one report troops shoot at the funeral.
In the meantime, the generals held a celebratory ceremony. “As the night sky in the purpose-built capital of Naypyidaw shone for a moment with a drone depiction of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing, his troops burned a snack vendor in Mandalay alive,” reported the Guardian. “The witness said the man was screaming after his mother as the flames engulfed him.”
“It was a murder coincidence that was particularly shocking,” reported Moe Myint of the BBC’s Burmese service. “Armed with weapons from the battlefield, security forces seemed willing to shoot anyone they saw on the streets. The brutality they have shown to be capable of is on a different level from what we have seen since the coup. “
International condemnation was swift and widespread. The defense chiefs of a dozen countries, including the United States, Britain, Australia and Japan, issued a statement condemning the deadly action. “We call on the armed forces of Myanmar to end the violence and start working to restore the respect and credibility of the people of Myanmar who have lost their actions.” it read.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab described Saturday’s massacre as a “new minimum” for the country’s army. The European Union considered it “unacceptable”. Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, called for an emergency meeting of the Security Council and international coordination to punish the country’s military, including measures to combat the looting of Myanmar’s top oil and gas sector leaders, as well as the procurement of weapons used against civilians.
“Words of condemnation or concern honestly sound hollow to the people of Myanmar, while the military junta commits mass killings over them,” Andrews said in a statement.
“It’s horrible,” President Biden said on Sunday, noting that his administration was investigating new rounds of sanctions and describing the violence as “absolutely unheard of.”
Rep. Ami Bera (D-Caliph), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee focusing on Asia, noted the sanction of the Biden administration by two major military conglomerates in Myanmar as a welcome step. “I urge our allies and partners to continue working together with the United States to call on the Burmese military to oust Burma’s nascent democracy in Burma and to put pressure on Tatmadaw,” the country’s military, “to stop the violence and return to civilian rule,” she said. is Bera in an email for Today’s WorldView. “This desperate holding of power to the detriment of the lives of those whom the military is supposed to protect is unacceptable.”
Of course, there are few indications that the Security Council can take difficult action. Russian and Chinese officials attended the junta ceremony on Saturday. After the Myanmar military launched night airstrikes on ethnic militias in the southeastern state of Karen over the weekend – forcing thousands of villagers to flee across the border into Thailand – activists suggested military capabilities have been strengthened years of Chinese and Russian support.
Meanwhile, military authorities are demonizing the protest movement as a threat aided by shady foreign interests. “They see protesters as criminals because if someone disobeys or protests against the military, they are criminals,” Captain Tun Myat Aung, an officer who defected to the anti-coup protesters, told the New York Times, Hannah Beech, in a piece in which I sank into a paranoid, claustrophobic state within a state which Tatmadaw occupies. “Most soldiers have never tried democracy all their lives. They still live in the dark. ”
The protest movement, on the other hand, involves a young generation unwilling to take part in the country’s withdrawal from a decade of liberalization – if it is far from ideal – political and economic reforms. “Neither side – the military nor the pro-democracy movement – is willing to back down,” wrote Myint. “The military thinks it can terrorize people to achieve ‘stability and security.’ But the movement in the streets, led by young people, is determined to free the country forever from military dictatorships. “
“The demonstrations have not yet reached and may never reach critical mass, with enough people taking the goal of making the movement self-sustaining,” said Lee Morgenbesser, a senior lecturer studying authoritarian regimes at Griffith University in Australia. to my colleagues. “This means that the coup will be annulled only by a rift within Tatmadawa, which was by far one of the most complex and enduring armies anywhere in the autocratic world.”