16 February, 2021: Myanmar Update

Sixteen days have passed since Myanmar’s military seized control from the civilian government. The military continues to cement its hold on power and marginalize opposition to its actions. How successful they have been in that endeavor depends on who you ask. International media outlets continue to loudly trumpet the effects large-scale protests taking place across Myanmar are having, without reporting specifically what those effects are. Yet the fact remains that the military has made no overtures to the protesters, or the political parties represented in the streets. Hundreds of citizens have been imprisoned, dozens of national government officials and political party members have been arrested, and the crackdown on social media and internet platforms continues.

An additional charge against former leader Aung San Suu Kyi was announced when she appeared in court today via video link. The details of the new charge remain unclear though it seems Suu Kyi’s new charge is related to alleged violations of the nation’s Natural Disaster Law. Realistically, this charge is more likely just legal cover to keep her under house arrest for an indefinite period.

The military also held a press conference on Tuesday. It defended the seizure of power on 1 February and made a promise to hold elections and hand over power to the victorious party. A date for the new election was conveniently left out, arousing suspicion that the promise is little more than empty words aimed at placating international opinion for the time being. Condemnation and concerns have been voiced by governments and supra-national bodies around the world since the military took power. Unfortunately, world opinion has not motivated the military to reassess or walk back its actions.