“I knelt down… begging them not to shoot and torture the children, but to shoot me and kill me instead.”
Anti-junta (anti-military) protestors took to the streets of the Myitkyina, the capital city of northern Myanmar’s Kachin state, as unrest continues in response to a military coup.
- Elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi was ousted by the military on February 1st – protests against the military have been ongoing nationwide.
- To date, more than 60 people have reportedly been killed and thousands more detained in anti-coup demonstrations across the country.
- Myanmar has been under military rule for much of its existence since becoming independent from Britain in 1948, but held free elections in 2015. Under Kyi’s leadership, the country experienced a more democratic form of government (although also confronting criticism and controversy at times, including accusations of genocide for the targeting of the minority Muslim population in the country).
- Prior to the military coup, Kachin state itself has been the site of widespread unrest for years between ethnic groups and military forces; tens of thousands of its citizens have been displaced by that conflict.
- Why This Matters: Myanmar *appeared* to be trending towards more democratic rule and warming relations to the West. Under authoritarian rule by the military, Myanmar tilts back towards strong alliances with China.
More background from the Associated Press
by Jenna Lee,