On Sunday, the military dictator government opened fire on the agitators who were holding peaceful demonstrations to restore their democratic rights and elected government in Myanmar, killing 18 people. What makes this news special is that it is not just an incident. This is the culmination of a long sequence of events.
However, these protests have continued since the army illegally captured power just before the session of the newly elected parliament of the country began on February 1. However, military occupation of power is not new to Myanmar. Out of these seven decades since independence in 1948, the army has been in power for nearly five decades. But there is also a long and proud history of attempts to get democracy out of the clutches of the army. Due to this struggle full of sacrifice and sacrifice, the army was forced to give a little space for democracy.
The process, which began in the second decade of the 21st century, saw fair elections in 2015 and popular leader Aung San Suu Kyi win. However, even before proceeding to the elections, the army had ensured that its hold on power remained intact under certain constitutional provisions. Due to these provisions, Aung San Suu Kyi could not become Prime Minister despite getting a strong majority. Not only this, a quarter of the seats of Parliament were already reserved for the army. They were appointed military officers. More than three-fourths of votes are needed for a change in this constitution, which can never be found by any party due to the reserve seats of the army.
Obviously, it was not easy for the elected government to run the government in this situation. The interference of the army in day-to-day operations could not be avoided. Despite this, Aung San Suu Kyi and his party NLD not only completed a five-year term, but satisfied the public with their performance so much that in the elections held in November 2020, voters gave them more seats than last time.
These election results shocked the army. He understood that it would become increasingly difficult to keep this popular government under his control. So, in the elections, he was overthrown, accusing him of baseless accusations of rigging. But the army failed to understand the pace of time. He felt that he was still in power. Once the hunter is late to reprimand, the civilians will be lost in the face of the power of the army. But in these ten years, the people of Myanmar have tasted democracy. Their heightened democratic consciousness cannot tolerate this attack. Secondly, they now have a new tool called Social Media. Despite all limitations, this tool is capable of breaking the government’s monopoly on information.
Both these factors have staked the name of the army in Myanmar for the last one month. On February 1, he announced a coup, and protests began on February 2. By February 15, it became such a situation that the arrest had to be speeded up by deploying the army at all the major places. On February 23, two people were killed and 40 protesters were injured in the firing at Mandalay. But these repressive efforts intensified the movement. Despite the death of 18 people in different incidents across the country on 27 February, the protest has not stopped nor weakening.
Even though this struggle is going on in Myanmar, it is under the watch of democratic powers all over the world. This fight also has to decide whether the future of democracy in the 21st century will depend on the will of the ruling forces, or on the resolving power of the people.
Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own