Women strike their pots and pans for democracy on the streets of Burma. Thousands of workers, students, and monks march to reclaim their voice, their decisions, their rights. Teachers, doctors, and government workers are on strike and refuse to serve the military government. Rohingya refugees who were persecuted and displaced under the joint rule of Aung San Suu Kyi and the military express their solidarity to protesters and join the call for democracy.
Their message is clear: the military government is illegitimate, it is the masses who hold power.
On February 1, the military, led by General Min Aung Hlaing, took over Burma after they lost the election in November 2020. They arrested civilian leaders, including Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other leaders of the National League for Democracy. Aung Hlaing is notorious for orchestrating the genocide, mass rape, persecution, and displacement of the Rohingya people from their resource-rich lands. In rural areas, Indigenous Peoples such as the Karen continue to be threatened and targeted by the military.
Rooted in a macho-fascist militarist dictatorship, the ongoing protests were faced by water cannons, rubber bullets, and live rounds. The government cut off the Internet as well, making it difficult for the Burmese people to get information out to the outside world. Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing, a brave woman in her teenage years, was shot in the head by police bullets. She is one of the determined protesters who refused to retreat.
In the coming days, marches will continue. As history unfolds in our neighboring country, active engagement and international solidarity are necessary — let us make the people’s voice a decisive force in the fate of democracy in Burma.
The demonstration in Burma is an actualization of democracy. The democracy robbed in one country is a robbery in ours.
Long live international solidarity!