Myanmar: Timeline of a fragile democracy

Myanmar’s military has a long history of involvement in the country’s politics.

Myanmar’s military seized power on Monday after detaining leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures in the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in a series of early morning raids.

The people of the Southeast Asian nation are no strangers to military rule.

The country was controlled by the armed forces until they began to cede power a little more than 10 years ago.

“The military has always operated in an opaque way,” said Al Jazeera’s Florence Looi, who has reported extensively from Myanmar. “It has in many ways considered itself above the law.”

Here is a timeline:

 

Aung San Suu Kyi, then two years old, with her father Aung San and mother and two elder brothers in 1947 [File: Kyodo News via AP Photo]

1947

Aung San, who fought against the Japanese and led the country to independence from Britain, is assassinated. Aung San Suu Kyi, is his only daughter and youngest child.

1948

Myanmar achieves formal independence under President U Nu.

1962

The military under General Ne Win takes power in a coup. All opposition parties are banned, and the military takes control of all businesses and industries. Its economic policies and deliberate isolation of the country lead to economic stagnation and ruin.

The military staged its first coup in 1962, which led to isolation, political repression and extreme economic hardship [File: AP Photo]

1988

Pro-democracy protests in August are met with a brutal military crackdown and as many as 5,000 people are killed, according to civil society groups. In September, Aung San Suu Kyi founds the National League for Democracy (NLD).

1990

Under international pressure the military calls an election, which the NLD wins by a landslide. The military refuses to recognise the results or hand over power and Aung San Suu Kyi is arrested and placed in house arrest.

1995

In July, Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest.

Aung San Suu Kyi surrounded by reporters at her home in Yangon after she was released from house arrest in 1995. She was detained again in 2000 [File: Stuart Isett/AP Photo]

1997

Myanmar joins the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

2000

Aung San Suu Kyi detained again as Europe tightens sanctions on Myanmar.

2002

Aung San Suu Kyi released again and allowed to travel around the country.

2003

Aung San Suu Kyi is arrested again – supposedly for her own protection – after an attack on her convoy.

More than 70 of her supporters were beaten to death in the May attack by the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA), a political militia backed by the military, according to the Burma Campaign UK. The USDA was later transformed into the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), the military’s proxy party in parliament.

2006

The military announces it has moved the capital to Naypyidaw, a new city it had built in secret midway between Yangon and Mandalay.

2007

Thousands take to the streets of Yangon in protests led by Buddhist monks, after the military government removes fuel subsidies. Dozens are killed in the subsequent military crackdown.

2008

The process of democratisation begins with a controversial constitutional referendum that took place only two days after Cyclone Nargis swept across the Irrawaddy Delta leaving tens of thousands dead.

Cyclone Nargis devastated Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Delta leaving tens of thousands dead. The military continued with its constitutional referendum regardless [File: AP Photo]

2010

The USDP wins elections that are boycotted by the NLD. Aung San Suu Kyi is freed from house arrest in November.

2012

Fighting between Buddhists and Muslims in western Rakhine State leaves hundreds dead and tens of thousands of Rohingya displaced.

2015

The NLD wins a general election by a landslide and Suu Kyi becomes leader in a specially created role of state counsellor.

2016

Unrest flares again in Rakhine after Rohingya fighters attack three police border posts, killing nine police officers. A military crackdown prompts tens of thousands to leave for neighbouring Bangladesh but also to Malaysia and Indonesia.

2017

A brutal military crackdown in Rakhine drives more than 730,000 Rohingya into Bangladesh. The United Nations says the campaign of mass killing, rape, and arson was carried out with “genocidal intent”, which Myanmar denies. Suu Kyi later defends Myanmar against genocide charges brought at the Hague.

2019

Fighting begins in Rakhine between government troops and the Arakan Army (AA), an ethnic Rakhine group seeking greater regional autonomy. Suu Kyi urges the army to “crush” the rebels.

2020

The NLD claims a resounding victory in parliamentary elections taking more votes than it did in 2015.

The USDP demands a rerun of the election and calls for military help to ensure fairness, alleging irregularities.

2021

January 26: Army military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun warns the armed forces will “take action” if the election dispute is not settled and declines to rule out staging a coup, asking the election commission to investigate voter lists it said contained discrepancies.

January 28: The election commission rejects allegations of vote fraud, saying there were no errors large enough to affect the credibility of the vote.

January 30: Myanmar’s military says it will protect and abide by the constitution and act according to the law.

February 1: The military imposes a state of emergency and says power has been transferred to military chief Min Aung Hlaing, after Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior government officials were arrested in a series of early morning raids.

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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