It has been two years since the military coup in Myanmar on February 1, 2021.
Outside Myanmar’s embassies in neighboring countries such as Thailand and the Philippines, protests have been loud, but inside the country, silence is rife.
The streets are empty of people and shop doors are closed, in a nationwide show of indecision.
– Empty streets are an active protest and expression of people’s contempt for the military, Christian Stock, professor at the Department of Sociology and Social Geography, tells NRK.
He says that people do not stay at home out of fear, but in this way they interrupt Military Council Wanting to show the world that everything is normal in Myanmar.
– people have very Difficult. Stokke says they have lost their basic rights, political rights, human rights, and the economy is in deep crisis.
There is also a social crisis, and when it comes to their living conditions.
– MMany have fled, many are in prison, many have been killed, and many are displaced within Myanmar and internationally, Stokke explains.
The coup began on the morning of February 1, 2021, when Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other representatives of the ruling National League for Democracy party were overthrown, and the military took power.
By then, elected representatives and the military had jointly ruled the country for five tense years.
In the aftermath of the coup, more than 1,500 people died and nearly 8,800 were imprisoned or arrested.
Attacks from the air are one of the junta’s deadly tactics, and now they’re being used quite often, he writes. BBC.
But the resistance did not diminish.
– What we have seen in the past two years is a stronger and broader resistance movement against the army than we have seen before, says Professor Stokke.
He has no confidence that the population will put up with military rule.
Military rule cannot be a path to stability, peace or democracy in Myanmar. Recognizing that people have it, Stokke says, means that many will continue to find opportunities to resist, including with the use of weapons.
Refers to a wide range of strategies that people use to weaken the army.
There are popular protests, but there is also a strategy of economic resistance in the form of strikes and civil disobedience.
It happens in the healthcare system, education, transportation, and industry.
Never before had so many of the Buddhist majority joined ethnic nationalities in a joint political resistance movement.
– They are now united behind a common revolutionary agenda for a federal democracy, says Stokke.
This means that ethnic groups get the right to self-determination and participation in a federal state.
Myanmar is a country that for many decades has had strong opposition to the military, especially from the military’s ethnic groups.
As of now, the military may not control more than half of Myanmar’s territory, but there is no indication that the junta wants anything other than to cling to power.
– Fool’s game
It is possible that they will announce elections in August after more than two years of a state of emergency, but it is difficult to weaken their position.
– It’s a foolish game, an attempt to legitimize military rule. The military has shown that it wants to achieve long-term political control, by all possible means, says the professor.
The army instituted a new voter registration law that guarantees victory for the army party itself, but Stokke maintains that it will be very difficult to hold an election.
The army has no control, and will only be able to hold elections in very limited areas of Myanmar.
On Wednesday, the military council announced an extension of the state of emergency, which is likely to delay the elections.
It could also happen that the military drops the elections and instead looks for a section of the law to legitimize extending the state of emergency for a longer period.
The United Nations is asking the international community to distance itself from the election plans, and the Norwegian government is concerned.
– I am outraged by reports of gross violations of human rights, including against children. Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly, arrests and violent attacks against civilians cause great suffering, says Foreign Minister Anken Hoytveldt in press release.
It makes it clear that inclusive and meaningful political dialogue is essential for Myanmar to be able to return to the democratic process.
New sanctions are now being imposed on companies linked to the military by Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Australia.
Professor Stokke believes that international pressure is important, but only the people of Myanmar can overthrow the junta.
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