|▲Myanmar people protesting Korean in front of the Korean embassy. (source: Chosun Media)|
On February 1st 2021, a military revolt broke out in Myanmar. NLD (National League For Democracy) led by Aung San Suu Kyi won a landslide victory in the general election, finishing 53 years of military rule. But, Min Aung Hlaing, the top military commander raised suspicions of a rigged election, as there was an 8.6 million difference in voter registration. Eventually, Myanmar’s military declared a state of emergency for a year because of the suspicion of rigged elections. So what is the situation in Myanmar now?
Bloodshed has continued since the February 1st military insurgency. More than a thousand people have been imprisoned and subjected to brutal torture such as being hit with chains and NLD politicians are also being tortured to death. The Myanmar military also used violence against the general public who did not participate in the anti-military demonstration and are detaining hundreds of people every day. A Myanmar police officer who crossed the border into India testified that he had been ordered to shoot protesters with lethal force.
Myanmar’s citizens are trying to bring international attention to the ongoing insurgency of Myanmar’s military. Korean language students in Dagon University knelt in front of the Korean Embassy and pleaded, “Please help us with the future of our country. Please aid us. Please.”, The Mandalay University of Foreign Students wrote eight language protest signs against the military government takeover and declared their anti-military positions in English, Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Korean. The students also posted their own videos on SNS.
The situation in which so many college students come forward to inform foreign journalists and ask for help is strikingly similar to the Gwang-ju pro-democracy movement in Korea. During the 1980 Gwang-ju pro-democracy movement, many Gwang-ju citizens protested against military insurgency and were victimized by violent suppression and subjected to terrible torture by soldiers. Also, the government completely isolated Gwang-ju by controlling the media.
Myanmar’s citizens efforts have made the atrocities known worldwide, garnering support for Myanmar’s pro-democracy movement. In a statement against the Myanmar military insurgency, Gwag-ju Solidarity organization for Democracy said, “Gwang-ju citizens were angry at the violence and torture inflicted on the people of Myanmar. Stop the armed repression and return to its original mission to protect the lives of the people.” President Moon Jae-in said on facebook, “Violence against the people of Myanmar must be stopped immediately. There must be no more casualties. I sincerely hope that democracy and peace will be restored as soon as possible.” In Gyeongsangnam-do province, several organizations also made statements. The Gyengnam Civil Society Organization said that it supports Myanmar citizens’ desire for democratization. Also, residents of Myanmar held a rally in front of Chang-won City hall in support of the pro-democracy movement.
On Myanmar’s future political prospects, the Institute for International Economic Policy said that the military is expected to prepare for a new general election and push for social stability and economic reform, but it is difficult to diagnose the political situation at this point as the situation in Myanmar is likely to change. Everyone must continue to watch and support the pro-democracy movement in Myanmar. If Myanmar’s people get enough international support, the military could stop suppressing the people and welcome a spring of peace.
By So Min-young, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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