History of Myanmar

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2021 Feb 1

2021 Myanmar coup d'état

Myanmar (Burma)

A coup d'état in Myanmar began on the morning of 1 February 2021, when democratically elected members of the country's ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), were deposed by the Tatmadaw—Myanmar's military—which then vested power in a military junta. Acting president Myint Swe proclaimed a year-long state of emergency and declared power had been transferred to Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing. It declared the results of the November 2020 general election invalid and stated its intent to hold a new election at the end of the state of emergency.[103] The coup d'état occurred the day before the Parliament of Myanmar was due to swear in the members elected at the 2020 election, thereby preventing this from occurring.[104] President Win Myint and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi were detained, along with ministers, their deputies, and members of Parliament.[105]


On 3 February 2021, Win Myint was charged with breaching campaign guidelines and COVID-19 pandemic restrictions under section 25 of the Natural Disaster Management Law. Aung San Suu Kyi was charged with breaching emergency COVID-19 laws and for illegally importing and using radio and communication devices, specifically six ICOM devices from her security team and a walkie-talkie, which are restricted in Myanmar and need clearance from military-related agencies before acquisition.[106] Both were remanded in custody for two weeks.[107] Aung San Suu Kyi received an additional criminal charge for violating the National Disaster Act on 16 February,[108] two additional charges for violating communications laws and an intent to incite public unrest on 1 March and another for violating the official secrets act on 1 April.[109]


Armed insurgencies by the People's Defence Force of the National Unity Government have erupted throughout Myanmar in response to the military government's crackdown on anti-coup protests.[110] As of 29 March 2022, at least 1,719 civilians, including children, have been killed by the junta forces and 9,984 arrested.[111] Three prominent NLD members also died while in police custody in March 2021,[112] and four pro-democracy activists were executed by the junta in July 2022.[113]

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Last Updated: Mon Oct 02 2023