Myanmar’s Military Has Stifled Dissent Before. Will it Work Again?
Myanmar has once again returned to military rule, with a year-long state of emergency declared by the army.
After a decade-long political transition that brought Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) to power, Myanmar is now a changed place. What used to be a is increasingly connected to the world. Civil society has begun to be established and public awareness about freedom, democracy, human rights, and development has increased drastically.
Given this, many are closely watching how people will react to the military taking back control of the country and tossing aside a government that won a massive popular mandate only a few months ago.
More Internet Access, but Surveillance Continues
However, the ubiquity of social media has not guaranteed freedom of expression. In fact, in recent years, it has gotten worse.
Laws Cracking Down on Free Speech Since 2010
“It makes us censor ourselves. It creates fear in the youth community. We are still living in fear.”
Public Reactions So Far: Symbolic and Spontaneous
As the public defiance this week illustrates, the people of Myanmar are refusing to be silenced again. Because their actions appear to be spontaneous, however, it remains to be seen how effective a longer-term resistance campaign will be in the face of the state’s sophisticated surveillance apparatus.
The international community will also need to continue to support the pro-democracy activists and put pressure on the military leaders, particularly as the initial outrage over the coup subsides.
The public has demonstrated its resilience before. They’ll need to show bravery and determination again to make the military feel vulnerable in its claims of legitimate rule.
(This is an opinion piece and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for them. This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article here.)
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