On February 1, 2021, the military, headed by the commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, staged a coup d’etat against Myanmar president Win Myint and State Counselor Aung Sang Suu Kyi. This event led to a series of protests in Myanmar, many of which resulted in bloodshed and the loss of innocent lives.
The military detained President Win Myint, Aung Sang Suu Kyi, and other important figures of the National League for Democracy (NLD) Party in a raid, hours before the new parliament of Myanmar was to begin its first session.
The military declared a state of emergency for one year, claiming that there had been alleged fraud during the November 2020 election. The NLD party had won the election in a landslide, securing 396 votes of the 476 total electoral votes.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing assumed all executive, legislative, and judicial powers. In response, the NLD published a statement, urging people to protest against the coup.
On the following day, February 2, people gathered in Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city. They banged pots and sounded car horns in protest, while doctor and student groups across Myanmar called for civil disobedience campaigns.
Military officers searched Aung San Suu Kyi’s home and found six hand-held radios that were imported illegally and used without permission. Charges were filed against Aung San Suu Kyi and the police had her detained until February 15.
The military blocked Facebook, Messenger, and Whatsapp services for “stability.”
On February 6, the military blocked Twitter and Instagram, where protesters had been spreading information, and ordered a blackout of the internet in the entire country.
Thousands of people flooded the streets in protest. Civil unrest festered as the protests reached heights that had not been seen since the Buddhist monk uprising in 2007.
The military imposed curfews in Yangon, Mandalay, and other cities and prohibited gatherings of more than five people to prevent protests.
On February 9, a woman was shot in the head during a protest in Naypyidaw, Myanmar’s capital. She died of her wounds on February 19.
The military suspended laws that prevented security forces from detaining suspects or searching private property without a warrant. Several prominent figures of the protests are arrested and detained.
On February 15, a judge extended Aung San Suu Kyi’s sentence by two days. Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with violating the country’s Natural Disaster Law the following day, further delaying her release.
As more protests emerged throughout the country, several sanctions are imposed upon Myanmar’s generals by the US and the EU. Facebook bans the Myanmar military from its platform.
On February 28, police fired on protesters, killing at least 18 people. This is followed by the military filing additional criminal charges against Aung San Suu Kyi on the following day.
On March 3, 38 people were killed in the deadliest crackdown yet.
Several world leaders have called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and demanded that the military stop the coup to prevent further bloodshed, to no avail.