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One month in Myanmar under military control

March 3, 2021 at 4:00 a.m.
Protesters run after police shot warning shots and used water cannon to disperse them during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)

YANGON, Myanmar -- The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in a coup Feb. 1.

In the month since, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades.

In clinging to power, the army used lethal force to quash a massive 1988 uprising and a 2007 revolt led by Buddhist monks. Even as it eased the reins -- allowing civilian rule after Suu Kyi's party won elections in 2015 -- the military retained power through a constitution it drafted.

When the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained Suu Kyi and others in her government the day of its takeover, it alleged the most recent election was tainted by fraud. The election commission that refuted those allegations and affirmed Suu Kyi's party won in a landslide was purged by the ruling junta.

The public at large also rejected the military's assertion -- and took to the streets. Medical workers spearheaded a Civil Disobedience Movement, whose calls for mass non-violent protests were met across the country. Even in smaller cities, crowds often in the tens of thousands defied the junta's orders against large gatherings.

Those united in opposing the coup and wanting Suu Kyi released and restored to power came from varied walks of life. Civil servants and workers at enterprises such as the state railway. Enthusiastic youngsters in Generation Z. Members of Myanmar's myriad ethnic groups.

As the protests have intensified so too has the response from security forces, with hundreds of arrests and several deaths of protesters reported this past weekend.

Mya Thwet Thwet Khine lies in a coffin during her funeral in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 21 2021. She was the first confirmed death among the many thousands who have taken to the streets to protest the Feb. 1 coup that toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Mya Thwet Thwet Khine lies in a coffin during her funeral in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 21 2021. She was the first confirmed death among the many thousands who have taken to the streets to protest the Feb. 1 coup that toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
An anti-coup protester watches through a shield after police blocked their march in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
An anti-coup protester watches through a shield after police blocked their march in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators with placards lie on the railway tracks in an attempt to disrupt train service during a protest against a military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators with placards lie on the railway tracks in an attempt to disrupt train service during a protest against a military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband Thet Naing Win at Kyarnikan cemetery in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Thet Naing Win was shot and killed by Myanmar security forces during an anti-coup protest on Feb. 20. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband Thet Naing Win at Kyarnikan cemetery in Mandalay, Myanmar, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. Thet Naing Win was shot and killed by Myanmar security forces during an anti-coup protest on Feb. 20. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Buddhist monks display placrds during a protest march against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Buddhist monks display placrds during a protest march against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters raise their hands with clenched fists during a rally near the Mandalay Railway Station in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters raise their hands with clenched fists during a rally near the Mandalay Railway Station in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 22, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Mandalay University graduates hold posters with an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a young woman shot by police on Feb. 9 in Naypyitaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Mandalay University graduates hold posters with an image of Mya Thwet Thwet Khine, a young woman shot by police on Feb. 9 in Naypyitaw, during an anti-coup protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters face a row of riot police in Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Anti-coup protesters face a row of riot police in Yangon, Myanmar Friday, Feb. 19, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Myanmar's military stand guard at a checkpoint manned with armored vehicles blocking a road leading to the parliament building Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in the Feb. 1 coup. (AP Photo)
Myanmar's military stand guard at a checkpoint manned with armored vehicles blocking a road leading to the parliament building Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in the Feb. 1 coup. (AP Photo)
Engineers hold posters with an image of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they stage an anti-coup protest march in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in the Feb. 1 coup. (AP Photo)
Engineers hold posters with an image of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they stage an anti-coup protest march in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in the Feb. 1 coup. (AP Photo)
Armed riot police are seen near protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Armed riot police are seen near protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A police truck sprays water to a crowd of protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A police truck sprays water to a crowd of protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A man is held by police during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A man is held by police during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar, Monday, Feb. 15, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters flashing three-fingered salutes and holding an image with an X mark on a photo of Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing face rows of riot police in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, after Feb. 1 coup. In the month since, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters flashing three-fingered salutes and holding an image with an X mark on a photo of Myanmar Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing face rows of riot police in Naypyitaw, Myanmar on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, after Feb. 1 coup. In the month since, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators shout slogans and flash the three-fingered symbol of resistance against the military coup standing next to a defaced image of Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators shout slogans and flash the three-fingered symbol of resistance against the military coup standing next to a defaced image of Myanmar military Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators flash the three-fingered symbol of resistance against the military coup and shout slogans calling for the release of detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Demonstrators flash the three-fingered symbol of resistance against the military coup and shout slogans calling for the release of detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest in Mandalay, Myanmar, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
In this image taken from video posted in Tatmadaw True Information Team Facebook page, State Administrative Council Chairman and Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing makes a televised statement Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in Feb. 1 coup. (Tatmadaw True Information Team Facebook page via AP)
In this image taken from video posted in Tatmadaw True Information Team Facebook page, State Administrative Council Chairman and Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing makes a televised statement Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021, in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The hopes of building a robust democracy in Myanmar were shattered when the powerful military toppled the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy party in Feb. 1 coup. (Tatmadaw True Information Team Facebook page via AP)
A protester show bullets, shotgun shells and rubber bullets used by security forces during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester show bullets, shotgun shells and rubber bullets used by security forces during a demonstration against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester wounded during a protest against a military coup is carried by his colleague in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester wounded during a protest against a military coup is carried by his colleague in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester throws a brick towards police during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester throws a brick towards police during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters shout slogans as police arrive during a protest against a military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters shout slogans as police arrive during a protest against a military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester wears a safety helmet and eye protector as he shouts slogans during a protest against a military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
A protester wears a safety helmet and eye protector as he shouts slogans during a protest against a military coup in Yangon, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters shout slogans during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since the Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
Protesters shout slogans during a protest against the military coup in Mandalay, Myanmar, Sunday, Feb. 28, 2021. In the month since the Feb. 1 coup, the mass protests occurring each day are a sharp reminder of the long and bloody struggle for democracy in a country where the military ruled directly for more than five decades. (AP Photo)
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