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March 3, 2021

Myanmar violence

Editorial

 
March 3, 2021

The scenes that unfolded this past Sunday in various parts of Myanmar have been seen before in a country prone to violence and military coups. Protesters against the latest military coup which deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi were attacked by police using teargas, batons and other weapons as they rampaged through the streets with the violence used by police leading to the death of 18 people. Meanwhile, additional charges were filed against Suu Kyi, who appeared in court through video link on Monday and asked for consultations with her legal team. To the credit of the protesters, they were not scared away by the use of force directed against them by the military and its various agents. Protests are still continuing in towns across Myanmar.

The latest military coup in Myanmar comes as a part of its long history of violence and the overthrow of civilian governments. While Aung San Suu Kyi had once been a hero in the eyes of the world, she was removed from this pedestal after the killing of the Rohingya Muslims. The protesters who are now spearheading the campaign in her favour have apologised for these killings, with students leading some protests, saying they were not aware of the degree of violence that took place. For now, this argument is somewhat academic. For Myanmar, the question is how things would proceed in the coming days and how long the protesters will be able to keep up their efforts against the military government. The Myanmar military is known for its willingness to use violence against civilian protesters and force without restraint when it needs to do so to serve its own purposes. We are seeing this happening once again.

Myanmar badly needs a return to peace and an end to the unrest that has obviously caused huge unrest across the country and shattered peace within it. For some years, Myanmar had known what normal governance resembled, despite some glaring limitations. Now we see a return to full-scale violence and indiscriminate killing of civilians. We do not know how many will die before the situation ends and there can be some restoration of peace in the country, which at the present time has once again been thrown under the feet of its brutal military leaders.