This research paper is based on the analysis of previously released research papers, reports, and statements. Factual data and cases are based on daily selective collections of independent media sources and information published by the Assistant Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP). Deductive data analysis was conducted during the research.
Myanmar saw 2020 as a worrying year preluding tremendous concerns and sufferings due to the global coronavirus pandemic as the country officially confirmed its first COVID-19 case, on 23 March 2021, leading to a halt in education and school activities, some business firms, social and festive events, and bereavements among the families. In fact, 2020 was a distressing year for both Myanmar and the global community. However, 2021 was a living hell where Myanmar people had to live in complete fear. Myanmar’s fight for democracy was strenuous and arduous in the past. Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, leader of Myanmar’s military, seized the power again only a decade after Myanmar people sought solace in meager democracy scanted by the 2008 Constitution under the military’s domination, on 1 February, thrusting more than 50 million Myanmar people into an abyss of darkness, the burden of fear and deadly arena. Immediate nationwide disruption of internet connectivity, telecommunications, radio channels, and TV channels followed the putsch whereby the infamous military arrested national leaders, members of parliament, prominent politicians, and activists.
Brutal Crackdowns on Peaceful Mass Protests
As the very first civil outcry against the coup, on 2 February, people from a number of major cities, townships, and even villages across the country launched pots-and-pans protests – banging pots and pans in unison at a specific time every day – which later metamorphosed into a powerful movement echoing the notable voice of Myanmar people demanding the return of democracy in the international community. The peaceful domestic demonstration of people met intolerance of coup leaders as the junta committed arrests, mulct, and sentence of seven-day imprisonment in different States and Regions. Pots-and-pans protests continue to be reported in some areas as a menace to the dictator till it has been almost a year since the coup. Along with the pots-and-pans protests, hundreds of thousands of people launched mass street protests against the junta across the country on 4 February. Following the international community’s skimpy acknowledgment for the peaceful civil protests and lack of effective responses to the coup, the ferocious military brought about the outset of mass killings by using real bullets in crackdowns on mass protests in Naypyidaw on 9 February. Then, the lackeys of the junta – police force and regime troops – have been orchestrating more increasingly brutal oppressions which included firing rubber bullets, arrests, imprisonments, shooting the protesters with real bullets in their heads, and ramming vehicles into unarmed protests in a more evident manner. An analysis of Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) indicated that protests encountered violent crackdowns around the world in 2021 and more than 60 percent of protests violently dispersed in 2021 was in Myanmar1, with killing more than 520 protesters, the highest poll of deaths, in March alone.