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March 2, 2024

Blood, Sweat and Tears: Myanmar’s Resistance Fights to Overturn Military Rule

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Feb 1, 2024

Three years after the military coup overthrew Myanmar’s democratic government, the country remains mired in conflict and crisis. As the junta clings to power through force and fear, a diverse resistance movement senses momentum shifting in their favor.

Junta Extends Emergency Rule as Economy and Rights Plummet

This week, military rulers extended the state of emergency in Myanmar for another six months while postponing elections yet again. The extension maintains the junta’s extrajudicial powers to crack down on dissent through arrests, torture and killings.

Since the 2021 coup, the military has driven the economy into the ground while severely restricting rights and freedoms. Over 60% of the population now lives in poverty as jobs vanish and prices skyrocket.

“The condition of the economy and the declining socioeconomic situation is a direct result of the military coup,” said an analyst with the United Nations.

The U.N. Special Rapporteur on Myanmar summed up three years of military rule as “mass deaths, mass detentions, and massive displacements.”

Metric Pre-Coup 3 Years After Coup
People in Poverty 25% Over 60%
Healthcare Spending Over 5% of GDP 1.3% of GDP
Students Enrolled Over 95% up to high school Less than 50%

Grassroots Resistance Digs In

Yet the junta’s iron grip has failed to subdue a diverse grassroots movement united by hatred of military rule.

Ethnic armed groups and pro-democracy militias have forged an alliance with civil disobedience activists and student protesters to uproot the junta through coordinated armed and unarmed resistance.

These loosely aligned factions carry out guerilla attacks on military targets while providing basic services and underground education in territory outside the regime’s direct control.

At the movement’s political helm, the National Unity Government (NUG) in exile has rallied international diplomatic support and outlined conditions for potential negotiations with the military rulers.

Key Anti-Coup Resistance Factions

Group Methods End Goals
NUG International lobbying & sanctions, potential peace talks Restored democracy per 2020 election
Ethnic Armed Groups Guerilla warfare & protests Rights, representation & self-rule
Pro-Democracy Militias Targeted attacks on junta forces Overthrow junta, return to barracks after
CDM Activists Strikes, civil disobedience Removal of military from politics entirely
Student Protesters Marches, university boycotts Democracy with free speech & assembly

“The Tide is Turning” Against Unpopular Generals

Observers both domestic and abroad sense a shift in momentum favoring the opposition as military morale and cohesion falters. Facing armed resistance across the country, top generals have resorted to draconian tactics while ramping up conscription to replenish depleted forces.

“The revolution will be successful very soon…The dictatorial regime is shaking from top to bottom.”
Gen Yawd Serk, top ethnic commander

Analysts say the regime is losing popularity among the wider populace while struggling to fund its sprawling military amid sanctions. With soldiers increasingly used for counterinsurgency, critics allege top generals have resorted to narco-trafficking Golden Triangle meth to keep the lights on and pay over 600,000 troops.

International Community Slams “Brutal and Illegitimate Regime”

On the coup’s third anniversary, the U.S. led 17 countries along with the E.U. in reiterating support for Myanmar’s democratic aspirations while condemning the regime’s “widespread atrocities.” Rights groups accuse the junta of over 19,000 extrajudicial killings and 113,000 arbitrary arrests over the past three years.

Yet analysts say global powers remain reluctant to directly intervene against a large military deeply entwined with regional superpowers. While China continues arming its decades-old ally, Russia stands accused of a potential arms-for-energy deal that could further embolden the regime.

With the Ukraine war dominating global attention, some Myanmar activists feel the world has lost interest in their plight after initial outrage over the coup. On the streets of Bangkok, exiled resistance supporters like Thazin Nyunt Aung rallied this week urging global solidarity with their cause.

Grim Anniversary Marks Pivotal Moment

As Myanmar passes another grim anniversary defined by spiraling conflict and rights abuses, the country stands at a pivotal crossroads. With neither the military nor resistance able to deliver a decisive blow, analysts see plunging living standards and a risk of Syria-style fragmentation along battle lines.

Yet opposition leaders remain defiant. Pointing to recent battlefield wins, the head of the NUG recently insisted Myanmar would soon be “absolutely different from what it used to be three years ago.” As civilian militias launch a major new offensive alongside ethnic allies, the coming months could prove decisive in determining Myanmar’s fate after a decade of nascent democracy violently interrupted.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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