Myanmar Crisis: Aung San Suu Kyi Marks Third Month Under House Arrest

Myanmar’s deposed civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi on May 1 completed the third month under military-ordered house arrest. The country has been plunged into violence since the military deposed the Nobel laureate in a February 1 coup, ending Myanmar’s brief tryst with democracy. The resumption of junta rule has sparked a wave of protests and a crackdown on the pro-democracy movement, in which the military has killed more than 750 people and detained thousands of others, according to a local monitoring group.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged on six counts. She is facing charges of corruption over allegations that she took bribes while in office. Under the country’s official secrets law, she has also been denied private meetings with her lawyers. Min Min Soe, who is a member of Suu Kyi’s defence team, has said that the deposed leader is cut off from information about the ongoing unrest at the house where she is being detained in the capital Naypyidaw.

The military has accused Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party of engaging in illegal activities, including election fraud and corruption. In the run-up to the November 2020 election, Army chief Min Aung Hlaing, who has acquired the power of the nation now, had claimed that the civilian government was making “unacceptable mistakes”. The military alleged that the elections were full of ‘irregularities’ and questioned the veracity of at least 9 million votes cast in November 2020 even though the country’s election commission rejected the claims of fraud.

Aftermath of military coup

Since Suu Kyi’s arrest, even though the military had claimed that it will protect and abide by its constitution, the junta has, however, deployed lethal force on the streets to try to crush demonstrations and arrested more than 4,500 people. The military has also detained several human rights activists, pro-democracy advocates, journalists, and politicians since the coup occurred in February. The killings of civilians have drawn international condemnation, with multiple diplomatic missions to Myanmar releasing statements and calling out the army in Burma to follow international standards of military professionalism.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders have also announced that they had taken a commitment from Myanmar’s military chief Min Aung Hlaing to halt all humanitarian breaches by instructing his troops to refrain from killing protesters. ASEAN members stressed that they reached a common decision with Myanmar’s military chief to release the protesting civilians arbitrarily detained as they led talks in a meeting chaired by Brunei at the ASEAN Secretariat building in Jakarta. On Monday, however, undeterred by the military’s use of lethal force, demonstrators congregated at the second most populous Yangon neighbourhood flashing anti-coup banners and three-fingered salute as a sign that they were continuing their resolve to achieve freedom and restoration of Myanmar’s democratically elected government.

(Image credit: AP)