Myanmar in the streets: A nonviolent movement shows staying power

In a historic uprising against a military coup, activists use tactics that have succeeded elsewhere — despite the generals’ escalating violence.

BY: Zarchi Oo; Billy Ford; Jonathan Pinckney

The people of Myanmar have opposed military rule in the past but never like this: In the face of horrific brutality by a lawless regime, Burmese have risen up in an historic national movement of nonviolent resistance. Led by young women, the fractious country has united across ethnic, generational and class lines, weaponizing social norms and social media in a refusal to accept the generals’ February 1 seizure of power. The broad appeal and tactical creativity of the resisters have kept the movement in the streets — and the generals off balance — for more than eight weeks now despite intensifying repression. While no one can predict the course of events in Myanmar, the campaign displays hallmarks of past nonviolent movements around the world that ultimately achieved their goals.

If coup leaders expected the population to fold after five liberating years of limited democracy and global integration, they were badly mistaken. Public protests have ballooned in virtually every township in Myanmar as the civil disobedience movement has continued to gain strength.

Source: US Institute of Peace