The military seized control of Myanmar on February 1, just as a new session of Parliament was about to begin. The military commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, seized power. Since the coup, former democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained, along with other members of her party, and they are being held in unknown locations. The coup led to mass protests that erupted across the country and have been ongoing since February 1.
What happened recently?
This week, Myanmar military leader Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power in February, appointed himself Prime Minister. In a speech, he announced he would lead the country under an extended state of emergency until elections could be held in August 2023.
Min Aung Hlaing addressed the COVID-19 situation in the country during the speech. He said “fake news and misinformation via social networks” was the source of public mistrust in relation to his government’s COVID-19 policies. He further accused those opposing the coup of deliberately spreading the virus. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Myanmar has reported around 311,000 COVID-19 cases and over 10,000 deaths, however, limited testing suggests these numbers may not be entirely accurate.
Yesterday it was reported that Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, who has refused to leave his post despite being fired by the military after the February coup, has alerted the world body to a “reported massacre” by the military. Kyaw Moe Tun wrote a letter to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, on Tuesday saying 40 bodies were found. The ambassador has called for an “urgent humanitarian intervention” from the international community. The ruling military has denied the massacre.