Dossier : Protests and rebellions in Burma

, by  Collectif, Europe Solidaire Sans Frontières

Protests and rebellion in Burma

Protests in Myanmar
Protesters against the military coup in Myanmar

Updated on May 5, 2021

On February 1, 2021, the Burmese army (the Tatmadaw in Burmese), led by General Min Aung Hlaing, seized power by force, overthrowing the government of Aung San Suu Kyi elected in November 2020.

In reaction to the coup, the Burmese people mobilized on a massive scale and a large part of the population took to the streets to express their opposition to the junta. Workers went on strike on an unprecedented scale, and civil servants also stopped work, bringing the country to a standstill.

The regime responded with a bloody crackdown that has so far left several hundred people dead.

While the international community seems powerless to address the situation in Burma, opponents of the regime intend to continue the struggle for democracy.

Persecuted for decades, the country’s minorities have sided with the opposition and are leading the fight by all means. The supporters of the national disobedience movement, faced with military repression, also seem to want to opt for this alternative.

Burma: what are we talking about?

Maps of Burma - Geography, ethnic groups and demography, geopolitics

Carte de la Birmanie
Carte des régions birmanes

Burma : a chronology from the 10th century to 2018

Historical retrospective of the situation in Burma from the Mon Empire, to the Mongol invasions, through the British invasion and then independence, to the guerrilla wars, the discrimination of minorities and the countless coups d’état that the country has experienced.

A New Myanmar? - The creation of a Federal Democracy remains a distant possibility

If the worrying situation in Myanmar does not augur well for the future of the country, it is important to keep in mind that the construction of national unity has never been able to succeed whatever the political regime and the nature of its leaders, who have only maintained the domination of the majority to the detriment of the minorities who have been struggling for decades for their recognition and independence.

Despite the violent repression, the Burmese people continue to resist

Myanmar. The junta’s violence is met with a population’s refusal to accept it

Despite the intensification of repression in Myanmar, the junta has to face a fierce opposition and drastic reductions in its funding, notably due to international sanctions and the withdrawal of foreign multinationals from the country, under pressure from human rights activists.
Added to this, the emergence of the Civil Disobedience Movement which fights to regain democracy.

A country on the brink of collapse and an international community slow to react

Burma is on the verge of collapse

Richard Horsey, International Crisis Group expert: "Myanmar on the brink of state collapse

Burma is on the brink of collapse and the coup has failed to firmly establish its authority over the country. Public services are at a standstill, the population is struggling and a great economic, social, humanitarian and health crisis is looming.

In his speech to the UN Security Council, Richard Horsey suggests warning the Burmese military of the risk of state collapse resulting from the regime’s violent repression and reminds them of the relevance of a decision in favor of an arms embargo.

Burma’s banking system at a standstill

Myanmar’s Informal Financial Service Providers Take Advantage of Post-Coup Banking Crisis

The Burmese banking system has been at a complete standstill for weeks and getting cash has become very difficult. One of the only effective ways is to use financial service providers who take advantage of the situation to charge exorbitant additional fees.

United Nations urges international community to act

Intensifying widespread, systematic slaughter by Myanmar military must be halted - UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

As in Syria in 2011, the state is responding to peaceful protests with disproportionate use of force. The violent repression has already resulted in several hundred deaths, large-scale displacement of the population and the arrest of several thousand people.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, is calling on neighboring countries to exert military pressure on the Burmese regime and to facilitate access to humanitarian aid.

Apathy of Southeast Asian regional powers.

ASEAN’s Exclusion of National Unity Government (NUG) in Summit Disappoints Myanmar

ASEAN is preparing to hold a summit on the situation in Burma, which will be attended by the junta leader but no opposition representatives. Anti-regime activists denounce this legitimization of the coup plotters and do not expect much from the Southeast Asian regional organization, especially because of the countries allied to the junta that make it up.

Opposition creates parallel government

Coalition: Who’s Who in Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG)

To put pressure on the coup regime, the opposition has created a parallel government composed mostly of members of the government elected last November and overthrown by the coup on February 1.

Multinationals singled out for their role in financing the regime

Info Burma, Justice for Myanmar, Reporters Without Borders and Sherpa welcome the of the French company Voltalia, after a year of discussions

The French company Voltalia announces its withdrawal from Myanmar, after a year of mobilization of several NGOs that denounced its links with companies accused of financially supporting the military junta.

1992-2021: French oil giant still bankrolling Myanmar junta

Despite international pressure, Total continues to produce gas in Burma and export it through companies controlled by the regime, generating significant revenues for the latter.

We call on TASAKI to end business with the Myanmar military junta, following US designation of Myanmar Pearl Enterprise for sanctions

Justice for Myanmar and Human Rights Now are calling on the Japanese company TASAKI to cease all business with Myanmar Pearl Enterprise, a junta-controlled company condemned by the United States for funding the regime.

Tension rises again between the army and minorities

Ethnic armed groups clash with junta

Fighting Continues Between KIA, Tatmadaw in Northern Myanmar

The Burmese army has increased its presence in ethnic minorities areas and gun battles have resumed in Kachin State, where independence fighters refuse to recognize the authority of the military coup leaders.

Myanmar Military Suffers Heavy Casualties in Fierce Fighting With Ethnic Armed Groups

In response to the military regime’s crackdown on peaceful protesters, armed groups fighting minorities have stepped up their offensives against the military, causing significant casualties.

60 years of repression of the Rohingya

The Impact of Democratization on the Rohingya Issue in Myanmar: (2011-2021) - "Any efforts toward democratization without addressing the issue of Rohingya will fail"

Since the 1962 coup that brought the country’s first military junta to power, the Rohingya, the majority of whom live in Rakhine State, have been the target of fierce repression that has continued even under the more liberal governance of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy.

In the face of repression, the resistance is organizing

Faced with the very high risks involved, peaceful protesters are developing new strategies

Myanmar: ’We will never kneel down’: Protesters change tactics in face of rising death toll

The ongoing bloody repression in Myanmar has not dampened the determination of the demonstrators, who are vying with each other to set up new, less risky protest actions.

The labor movement very involved in the opposition to the junta

In the Face of Massacres, Workers in Myanmar Are Still Fighting the Coup

Since the February 1 coup, the labor movement has been very active in the struggle against the regime and despite the declaration of martial law in industrial cities and the bloody repression of several strikes, workers intend to continue the fight.

Burma / Myanmar - "We want democracy back": despite the difficulties, the poor of Yangon vow to fight

The working class community is at the forefront of the protest in Burma, despite the financial difficulties caused by the closure of many companies and the massive exodus of their comrades to rural areas.

Faced with military repression, the population turns to armed struggle

In Myanmar, as slaughter of civilians continues, some decide it’s time to take up arms

Many peaceful demonstrators, powerless in the face of the regime’s armed repression that kills dozens of people every day, have decided to leave the cities and take up arms to put up more effective resistance.

Myanmar - The ’Tumi Revolution’: Protesters fight back in Sagaing Region

In the region of Sagaing, a hotbed of protest in Burma, protesters are counter-attacking, taking up arms, fighting the regime’s security forces and intending to develop a real guerrilla war to bypass the repression.