Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Myanmar: a fragile democracy | News Aung San Suu Kyi

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Myanmar Army takeover Monday after arresting leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior officials of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in a series of morning raids.

The people of the Southeast Asian nation are no strangers to military rule.

The country was controlled by the armed forces until they began to relinquish power just over 10 years ago.

“The military has always operated in a dark fashion,” said Florence Looi of Al Jazeera, who has reported extensively from Myanmar. “He considered himself in many ways above the law.”

Here is a timeline:

Aung San Suu Kyi, then two years old, with her father Aung San and her mother and two older brothers in 1947 [File: Kyodo News via AP Photo]


Aung San, who fought the Japanese and led the country to independence from Great Britain, is assassinated. Aung San Suu Kyi, is his only daughter and youngest child.


Myanmar gains formal independence under President U Nu.


General Ne Win’s army seizes power through a coup. All opposition parties are banned and the military takes control of all businesses and industries. Its economic policies and its deliberate isolation from the country lead to economic stagnation and ruin.

The army staged its first coup in 1962, which led to isolation, political repression and extreme economic hardship [File: AP Photo]


Pro-democracy protests in August are met with brutal military repression and up to 5,000 people are killed, civil society groups say. In September, Aung San Suu Kyi founded the National League for Democracy (NLD).


Under international pressure, the army calls elections, which the NLD wins by a landslide. The army refuses to acknowledge the results or hand over power and Aung San Suu Kyi is arrested and placed under house arrest.


In July, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi surrounded by journalists at her home in Yangon after being released from house arrest in 1995. She was detained again in 2000 [File: Stuart Isett/AP Photo]


Myanmar joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).


Aung San Suu Kyi is detained again as Europe tightens sanctions against Myanmar.


Aung San Suu Kyi is released again and allowed to travel across the country.


Aung San Suu Kyi is arrested again – supposedly for her own protection – after an attack on her convoy.

More than 70 of his supporters were beaten to death in the May attack by the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a military-backed political militia, according to the Burma Campaign UK. The USDA was later transformed into the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the military’s proxy party in parliament.


The military announces that it has moved the capital to Naypyidaw, a new city it had built in secret halfway between Yangon and Mandalay.


Thousands of people take to the streets of Yangon in protests led by Buddhist monks, after the military government removed fuel subsidies. Dozens of people were killed in the military crackdown that followed.


The democratization process begins with a controversial constitutional referendum that took place just two days after Cyclone Nargis swept through the Irrawaddy Delta, killing tens of thousands.

Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing tens of thousands. The army continued its constitutional referendum despite [File: AP Photo]


USDP wins elections boycotted by the NLD. Aung San Suu Kyi is released from house arrest in November.


Fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine State leaves hundreds dead and tens of thousands of Rohingyas displaced.


The NLD wins a general election by a landslide and Suu Kyi becomes a leader in a specially created role of state councilor.


Unrest erupted again in Rakhine after Rohingya fighters attacked three police border posts, killing nine policemen. A military crackdown pushes tens of thousands of people to leave for neighboring Bangladesh but also to Malaysia and Indonesia.


Brutal military repression in Rakhine drives more than 730,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh. The United Nations says the campaign of massacres, rapes and arson was carried out with “genocidal intent”, which Myanmar denies. Suu Kyi later defends Myanmar against genocide charges in The Hague.


Fighting begins in Rakhine between government troops and the Arakan Army (AA), a Rakhine ethnic group seeking greater regional autonomy. Suu Kyi urges the army to “crush” the rebels.


The NLD claims a resounding victory in the legislative elections with more votes than it did in 2015.

USDP calls for resumption of elections and calls for military aid to ensure fairness, alleging irregularities.


January 26: Army military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun warns that the armed forces “will take action” if the electoral dispute is not resolved and refuses to rule out the organization of a coup, asking the electoral commission to investigate electoral lists which it said contained discrepancies.

January 28: The Election Commission dismisses allegations of electoral fraud, saying there were no errors significant enough to affect the credibility of the vote.

January 30: The Burmese army declares that it will protect and respect the constitution and act according to the law.

February 1: The military imposes a state of emergency and says power has been transferred to military leader Min Aung Hlaing, after Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior government officials were arrested during a series of early morning raids.


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