As tensions increase, violence escalates. 54 people have been killed currently with the death toll set to rise. Myanmar’s Junta’s have adopted terror tactics, tear gas and live ammunition. Most recently, reports have emerged of overnight internet blackouts, highlighting military’s attempts to control the internet. With no side looking to concede, further suffering is inevitable.
A peaceful civil disobedience movement, including a mass strike of healthcare workers and around 750’000 civil servants, continues to grind the nation to a half in an attempt to undermine the military government. Yet the commercial empire of the army dominates Myanmar’s natural’s resources, making it difficult for the opposition to protest in this way.
The self-declared “revolution” of the people threatens Myanmar economically. Government shortage of staff and container pileups have forced bank closures and endanger business. Myanmar’s status as a cash-based society means, as one Burmese executive wrote, “the everyday people, mostly people on the street” will be the ones to suffer.
Youth and women stand alongside men in advocating for democracy, most notably the podcaster, Nandar, an activist fighting for gender equality in the country. The protest has extended into rural towns too. From Myitkyina in the north to Dawei in the south, people are angry. They declare that “the stone age is over; we are not scared because you threaten us.”
The Myanmar UN office has been a central point for protests, suggesting protesters desire for outside intervention. UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres has so far called for the “release of prisoners, end the violence and to respect Human Rights.”
Outside governments have also announced sanctions against military businesses and leaders. The UK have suspended all promotion of trade with Myanmar and imposed travel sanctions. Dominic Raab, the UK foreign secretary has urged that “those responsible for Human Right Violations will be held to account.” The US and Canada have imposed similar measures, with the European Union “ready to adopt restrictive measures.” Evidence of this was Joe Biden’s intervention in the Myanmar’s military’s attempts to retrieve $1Billion from a US-based bank account. Yet, the extent to which outside intervention will help protesters cause is still uncertain.
Neighbours well placed to pressurize the military government insist the situation is an “internal matter.” Placards branded with the phrase, “Myanmar’s military dictatorship is made in China,” show the people’s anger at Chinese government continued silence response. Yet border stability and China’s new position globally suggest they’re cautious about working with the military government.
YouTube has become the latest site to reverse government spread of disinformation by removing five military-run television networks from their platform. The new power of social media in the fightback against tyranny has been illustrated throughout the protest.
Historically, Myanmar has been turbulent. Protests, which occurred on the 22nd of February, dubbed the “22222 Revolution” echo the 8888 Uprising of the People’s Democratic Movement against the Junta in 1988. These protests continued over five months, an indication that current tensions in Myanmar will not end soon. The slogan, “you’ve messed with the wrong generation,” highlights that this time the Junta must fight harder to turn the tide on democracy.