A demonstrator holds up a placard outside the Central Bank of Myanmar to protest against the military coup and to demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in Yangon, Myanmar, February 11, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer

THE NEUTRAL ZONE

The White House on Wednesday announced an executive order placing sanctions on those responsible for the military coup in Myanmar.

“Today’s sanctions need not be permanent,” President Joe Biden said in a statement. “Burma’s military should immediately restore power to the democratically elected government, end the state of emergency, release all those unjustly detained, and ensure peaceful protestors are not met with violence.”

The sanctions target military leaders who directed the coup, as well as their business interests and close family members. The Biden administration will also institute export controls and freeze U.S. assets that benefit Myanmar’s government. The U.S. will continue to uphold support for health care and other benefits that support Myanmar’s citizens. European Union lawmakers on Thursday called for the bloc’s governments to sanction Myanmar’s military leadership as well.

Since the Feb. 1 coup, coordinated demonstrations ranging from strikes to boycotts to protests in the streets were met with suspended Internet access and armed security forces. Police in Naypyitaw fired on unarmed protesters after using a water cannon. Six protesters were injured and two are in critical condition. Thousands of civilians and civil servants, including government employees and even some police, continue to protest the coup in spite of a ban on protests.

Myanmar’s junta leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hliang, urged government employees to return to work, blaming absences on harassment by “unscrupulous persons.” He also said the body now in power is “different” from past military governments and urged the public to “focus on the facts and not be carried away by emotions.”

The United Nations in Myanmar expressed concern regarding reported uses of force against demonstrators.

“I call on the Security Forces to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” Ola Almgren, the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said. “The use of disproportionate force against demonstrators is unacceptable.”

MEDIA PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of articles showing different viewpoints on the topic.

Can Myanmar’s Protesters Succeed? – Foreign Policy – 2/11/2021
The students leading a new solidarity movement in the aftermath of the coup draw in part on the pro-democracy struggles of previous generations. Like those before it, their civil disobedience movement calls on citizens to reject military rule through collective action. But while Myanmar’s young organizers are troubled by the prospect of a return to the dark past, they appear confident that their movement will produce transformative results.

Civil servants increasingly quit their desks to resist the coup – Frontier Myanmar – 2/11/2021
This morning Frontier saw hundreds of striking staffers from the electricity and information ministries, including journalists from state-owned media outlets, and employees of state-owned banks take to the streets of Yangon to declare their participation in the movement. Similar walkouts are reportedly taking place across Myanmar.

The complex politics, geopolitics of the Myanmar coup – Asia Times – 2/11/2021
Washington’s attempt to push China out of Myanmar had no bearing on the February 1 coup; both the military and NLD are committed to the strategic link with China. But it does not help that this “new cold war” has deepened the instability that has marked Myanmar’s history since 1962.

Powerful photos show LGBT community joining Myanmar protests after military coup – Pink News – 2/9/2021
Myanmar freelance photographer Kyaw Htet captured photos of LGBT+ people who were walking among the protestors. Htet shared the photos, which were dated 8 February – the eighth day of the military coup, with the caption “queers for democracy”. Same-sex relations are punishable by up to 10 years in Myanmar, with trans people also criminalised.

The importance of Myanmar’s pots and pans protests – The Interpreter – 2/11/2021
This form of protest facilitates the broader participation of civilians during an ongoing pandemic, including women (in care roles at home), youth, aged and disabled, in their political opposition against the regime. Historically, pots and pans movements have encouraged women’s participation in politics.

A Military Excess Too Far – The Atlantic – 2/11/2021
The coup has, however, also prompted the beginning among some of Myanmar’s people of a reevaluation of the military’s acceptance in society despite its abhorrent behavior—something that a brutal campaign against the Rohingya, for which the armed forces now stand accused of genocide, notably failed to do.

INFLUENCER PERSPECTIVE

This section includes an aggregation of tweets showing different viewpoints on the topic.

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