Myanmar’s generals took power in a coup and once again plunged the Southeast Asian nation into political unrest. Hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered across the country demanding the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the restoration of civil rule.
The February 1st military takeover has been condemned worldwide: the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and the EU have announced selected sanctions against the country’s generals, while China expressed concern and said: “The current development in Myanmar is absolute not what China wants to see ”.
As daily protests continue to sweep across the country, fears of violence are growing.
Here is a timeline of what has happened since the coup.
February 1st: The military detained Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in an early morning raid, hours before the new Myanmar Parliament meets for its first session.
The military, known locally as Tatmadaw, declared a state of emergency for a year, saying it had taken action on alleged fraud in the November election the NLD won in a landslide.
She hands over all executive, legislative and judicial powers to Major General Min Aung Hlaing.
The NLD released a statement on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi, written before she was arrested, calling on people to protest the coup.
February 2nd: The US is calling the military takeover a coup.
In Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, people beat pots and pans and sounded car horns in protest. Doctors and student groups are calling for campaigns against civil disobedience.
3 February: Workers in 70 hospitals and medical departments across Myanmar are ceasing to work. Others wear red ribbons as part of a campaign against civil disobedience.
The NLD offices in several regions of the country are searched and documents, computers and laptops are taken away.
Myanmar Police are bringing charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and requesting her detention by February 15. A police document says that the military who searched their home found six handheld radios that were illegally imported and used without permission.
President Win Myint is also charged with violating protocols to stop the coronavirus from spreading.
The generals block Facebook as well as its messenger and WhatsApp services for reasons of “stability”.
Medical workers with red ribbons pose during a protest against the coup that removed elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi at Yangon General Hospital in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 3, 2021 [File: Stringer/ Reuters]February 4th: A group of protesters waved banners and chanted anti-coup slogans in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, as they first protested in the streets against the takeover of the army. At least three people are arrested.
The United Nations Security Council calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained by the military, but ceases to condemn the coup.
February 5th: Teachers and some government officials join the civil disobedience movement, saying they will not work for the authorities if the elected government is not restored.
The Japanese beverage company Kirin ends its alliance with Myanmar Economic Holdings (MEHL), a military conglomerate.
February 6th: The Tatmadaw ordered blocks on Twitter and Instagram where protesters exchanged information, and then a blackout across the Internet. Tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest the coup in Yangon and other cities.
February 7th: Protests invade Myanmar in the greatest show of mass anger since a Buddhist monk revolt in 2007 that led to democratic reform.
Internet access will be restored, but social media platforms will remain blocked.
February 8th: The military is imposing a curfew in Yangon, Mandalay and other townships and prohibiting gatherings of more than five people to stamp out growing protests.
Min Aung Hlaing makes the nation’s first televised address, promising to hold new elections in a year and give power to the winners.
Min Aung Hlaing speaks on a media broadcast in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, on February 8, 2021 [File: MRTV/Reuters TV]February 9: The police mostly fire rifles into the air and try to evacuate protesters in the capital Naypyidaw with water cannons and rubber-coated bullets.
A young woman is shot in the head with a bullet. Doctors say she is unlikely to survive.
New Zealand is breaking high-level contact with Myanmar and banning its top generals from traveling.
February 11th: The US is imposing sanctions on the incumbent President of Myanmar and several other military officers, and is warning the generals that there may be further economic punishment.
Ming Aung Hlaing urges government officials to get back to work in his first public statements about the protests against him.
Police use a water cannon against protesters to protest the military coup and demand the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Mandalay, Myanmar, on February 9, 2021 [File: Stringer/ Reuters]February 12th: Hundreds of thousands take part in nationwide demonstrations for democracy. Three people were injured by rubber bullets in clashes with the police.
The UN Human Rights Council urges Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials and not to use violence against people who protest the coup.
13th February: The military is suspending laws preventing security forces from arresting suspects or searching private property without court approval, and ordering the arrest of known supporters of mass protests.
It also threatens action against officials who refuse to return to work.
14th of February: The movement of civil disobedience is spreading and disrupting air and train travel.
During a demonstration against the military coup on February 14, 2021 in Yangon, protesters hold up signs supporting the Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) [File: Ye Aung Thu/ AFP]Protesters protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, February 17, 2021 [Stringer/ Reuters]Protesters protest against the arrest and indictment of the military government by the military government in Mandalay, Myanmar, Thursday, February 18, 2021 [AP]February 15th: Armored vehicles are used in capital cities and internet access is blocked as a judge extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s two-week detention for another two days.
February 16: The military denies that the ousting of the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi was a coup as police file a second indictment against the de facto leader, accusing her of violating the country’s natural disaster law.
Chen Hai, China’s ambassador to Myanmar, responds to almost daily protests outside the country’s Yangon mission, saying Beijing was not informed before the military takeover. He says the situation is “absolutely not what China wants to see” and rejects rumors of China’s participation in the coup as “total nonsense”.
February 17th: Hundreds of thousands of people march again as protesters in Yangon park their cars in the middle of the city’s streets and bridges to prevent army trucks from moving to end protests.
February 18th: Britain and Canada are imposing sanctions on Myanmar’s generals, while Japan agrees with the US, India and Australia that democracy must be restored quickly.
19th of February: Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the young woman shot in the head in Naypyidaw, dies of her wounds.
Protesters visit a memorial to Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, a young protester who was shot in the head in Naypyidaw when police tried to disperse a crowd during protests against the military coup on February 20, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar [Stringer/ Reuters]20. February: Security forces open fire on striking workers and other protesters at a Mandalay shipyard, killing at least two people and injuring 20 others.
Singapore condemns the killings as “inexcusable” and Britain threatens “further action”.
An injured man is carried by rescue workers after protests against the military coup on February 20, 2021 in Mandalay, Myanmar [Stringer/ Reuters]21st of February: Undeterred by the violence, tens of thousands of people are gathering again in cities across Myanmar.
Facebook is pulling down the military’s main page for repeated violations of its “No Incitement to Incitement to Violence and Damage Coordination” standards. The military warns people against participating in a planned general strike, saying that confrontation could cost more lives.
February 22nd: Protesters start a general strike. Businesses across the country are closing as protesters rally by the hundreds of thousands in the local media, dubbed the biggest protests since the coup.
The US is sanctioning two other generals involved in the takeover as the EU has also announced sanctions against the military.