Myanmar’s military has imposed martial law in 37 townships across eight states and regions, where people accused of treason or “spreading false news” will be tried by military tribunals. On Wednesday, the military announced it had extended the state of emergency it imposed at the time of the coup.
The announcement indicates that the military is looking for new ways to stamp out resistance in areas where people took up arms against its power grab two years ago.
According to an independent watchdog, over 2,948 civilians have been killed since Feb. 1, when peaceful protests were suppressed with lethal force by Myanmar’s Military; a spokesperson from National Unity Government believes this number will increase due to increased killings and torture under the pretext of stabilizing country. In rare comments reported on Wednesday, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing acknowledged more than one-third of the township is not entirely under control by his forces.
Since the Feb. 1 coup in Myanmar, the military has been expanding martial law across 37 townships to crush resistance to its rule. As a result of this oppressive action, civilians have experienced increased violence and death with no sign of the emergency state ending anytime soon.
On Feb. 1, 2021, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing took control of Myanmar’s government in a military coup. This was following months of civil unrest after the military rejected November’s election results. In response to the military takeover, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party set up a National Unity Government (NUG) to peacefully resist against military rule.
Senior General Min Aung Hlaing has stated that he will not give in to calls from outside countries for his resignation and that any actions taken by him or his forces are in response to NUG’s “incitement.” He also claims that they are working towards holding elections, but no timeline has been set.
There have been more than 700 civilian deaths due to violence inflicted by the military. Most of these deaths are related to peaceful protests against military rule, but there have also been reports of torture and extrajudicial killings by security forces. The situation in Myanmar is worsening by the day as the ruling military has enacted martial law in 37 townships across eight states and regions.
This proclamation will criminalize dissent, and those accused of “treason” and “spreading false news” can be tried in military tribunals, taking away judicial power from local officials. The scope of this martial law expansion is a frightening reminder that Myanmar’s democracy is dead, leaving its citizens defenseless against the military’s oppressive rule. Moreover, the increase in martial law is representative of the government’s attempts to stifle any resistance to its control, leaving little hope for those advocating for democracy before their voices were thoroughly squashed by authoritarianism.
Extended Emergency State & Resistance Against Military Rule
The implications of this extended emergency state are dire for anyone living in areas affected by martial law. Reports suggest that more civilians may be killed & tortured as security forces continue their crackdown on any form of dissent or resistance against the regime; leaving innocent people with nowhere safe to go or express their opinions freely without fear of repercussions from authorities. Moreover, with no clear timeline set for holding a general election, democracy could remain suspended indefinitely while international pressure continues on the regime – leading only to more instability & suffering for civilians caught between warring factions.
As the situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate, civilians face extreme violence and oppression from the military. They also struggle to access basic necessities such as food and medicine due to the military’s blockade of certain townships. In addition, many activists have been arrested on charges of violating martial law or spreading false information. This has caused a chilling effect on any form of dissent towards the government, resulting in growing fear amongst citizens that their opinions may be used against them by authorities.
The international community has spoken out numerous times against the military regime, but its pleas for an end to the crisis seem to fall on deaf ears. The United Nations Security Council recently issued a statement calling for an immediate de-escalation of violence and full respect for human rights, but the military government has yet to comply. Pressure from countries such as Britain and the United States has been minimal compared to what is needed to bring about meaningful change in Myanmar.
It is clear that the extension of martial law in Myanmar has fast-tracked the military’s agenda to assert strong authoritarian control and violently quash any dissent. This dangerous move puts civilians at risk and undermines democracy in the region, leaving citizens with little hope for justice or freedom from oppression. International pressure must continue on the regime until a meaningful solution is reached and civilian lives can again be respected. Unfortunately, as SOFREP has reported before, there is a stark difference between Ukraine’s and Myanmar’s structure that limits the international community’s intervention in the country.
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