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100 days of force and resistance in Myanmar

by The Associated Press | May 14, 2021 at 3:35 a.m.
FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2021, file photo, a police truck sprays water to a crowd of protesters in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)

YANGON, Myanmar -- The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule.

But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored.

They poured into the streets of cities and towns, carrying banners calling for the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party they reelected to office by a landslide last November.

The turnouts were enormous, and the country's military rulers felt threatened. With a partial understanding of the situation, they tried to block social media platforms, which they knew could be used for organizing protests. But their more technologically adept opponents devised workarounds and activated word-of-mouth networks. The vast marches and demonstrations continued.

Gatherings were declared illegal, curfews imposed, the media muzzled, internet access limited even more. Still the protests went on.

The security forces turned more forceful, but demonstrators remained defiant. Terror and lethal force was unleashed on them, with the predictably tragic results. Hundreds of protesters and bystanders have been killed, including dozens of children.

In the 100 days since its takeover, the military has failed to secure its position and faces battles on more fronts, as armed ethnic minority groups seeking more autonomy join their struggle to that of the democracy activists.

The street protests are fewer and much smaller now. Enraged citizens have taken up active self-defense, countering violence with violence. In the cities, small bombings with homemade devices have become a daily occurrence, while hundreds, perhaps thousands, of activists have fled to join the ethnic guerrillas in the jungles along the borders, seeking safety as well as military training to continue the fight.

FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2021, file photo, police charge forward to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photos)
FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2021, file photo, police charge forward to disperse protesters in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photos)
FILE - In this March 7, 2021, file photo, Myanmar nationals living in Thailand hold pictures of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the military coup in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, Thailand. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/Nava Sangthong, File)
FILE - In this March 7, 2021, file photo, Myanmar nationals living in Thailand hold pictures of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they protest against the military coup in front of the United Nations building in Bangkok, Thailand. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/Nava Sangthong, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband Thet Naing Win at Kyarnikan cemetery in Mandalay, Myanmar. Thet Naing Win was shot and killed by Myanmar security forces during an anti-coup protest on Feb. 20. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, Thida Hnin cries during the funeral of her husband Thet Naing Win at Kyarnikan cemetery in Mandalay, Myanmar. Thet Naing Win was shot and killed by Myanmar security forces during an anti-coup protest on Feb. 20. (AP Photo)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, a police officer aims a slingshot towards an unknown target during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, a police officer aims a slingshot towards an unknown target during a crackdown on anti-coup protesters holding a rally in front of the Myanmar Economic Bank in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, engineers hold posters with an image of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they hold an anti-coup protest march in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 15, 2021, file photo, engineers hold posters with an image of deposed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi as they hold an anti-coup protest march in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FIL:E - In this Feb. 17, 2021, file photo, demonstrators gather in an intersection close to Sule Pagoda to protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FIL:E - In this Feb. 17, 2021, file photo, demonstrators gather in an intersection close to Sule Pagoda to protest against the military coup in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2021, file photo, Myanmar nationals living in Thailand hold pictures of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi gesture with a three-fingers salute, a symbol of resistance, as they protest in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 8, 2021, file photo, Myanmar nationals living in Thailand hold pictures of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi gesture with a three-fingers salute, a symbol of resistance, as they protest in front of the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
FILE - In this March 7, 2021, file photo, protesters take positions behind a barricades as police gather in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 7, 2021, file photo, protesters take positions behind a barricades as police gather in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021, file photo, demonstrators protest against the military junta's arrest of National League for Democracy party lawmakers Aung Myay Thar Zan Township court in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021, file photo, demonstrators protest against the military junta's arrest of National League for Democracy party lawmakers Aung Myay Thar Zan Township court in Mandalay, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters prepare makeshift bow and arrows to confront police in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters prepare makeshift bow and arrows to confront police in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 31, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run away from military forces during a demonstration in Yangon. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 31, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters run away from military forces during a demonstration in Yangon. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 14, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters carry an injured man following clashes with security in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 14, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters carry an injured man following clashes with security in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 6, 2021, file photo, riot police officers hold down a protester as they disperse protesters in Tharkata Township on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 6, 2021, file photo, riot police officers hold down a protester as they disperse protesters in Tharkata Township on the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
File - In this March 9, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters stand behind a line of women's clothing hanged across a road to deter security personnel from entering the protest area in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, March 9, 2021. In Burmese culture, walking underneath women's clothing is believed to weaken the power of men and bring bad fortune. (AP Photo, File)
File - In this March 9, 2021, file photo, anti-coup protesters stand behind a line of women's clothing hanged across a road to deter security personnel from entering the protest area in Yangon, Myanmar Tuesday, March 9, 2021. In Burmese culture, walking underneath women's clothing is believed to weaken the power of men and bring bad fortune. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 26, 2021, file photo, an anti-coup student protester is welcomed home with flowers by the residents of her neighborhood after being released from jail in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 26, 2021, file photo, an anti-coup student protester is welcomed home with flowers by the residents of her neighborhood after being released from jail in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing presides an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, Myanmar's Commander-in-Chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing presides an army parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, family members mourn over Aung Myo Thant who was killed during clashes with police in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. The security forces turned more forceful, but demonstrators remained defiant. Terror and lethal force was unleashed on them, with the expected tragic results. Hundreds of protesters and bystanders have been killed, including dozens of children. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 30, 2021, file photo, family members mourn over Aung Myo Thant who was killed during clashes with police in Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. The security forces turned more forceful, but demonstrators remained defiant. Terror and lethal force was unleashed on them, with the expected tragic results. Hundreds of protesters and bystanders have been killed, including dozens of children. (AP Photo, File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, an anti-coup protester throws a smoke bomb against police crackdown in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this March 27, 2021, file photo, an anti-coup protester throws a smoke bomb against police crackdown in Thaketa township Yangon, Myanmar. The military takeover of Myanmar early in the morning of Feb. 1 reversed the country's slow climb toward democracy after five decades of army rule. But Myanmar's citizens were not shy about demanding their democracy be restored. (AP Photo/File)
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