Myanmar’s generals seized power in a coup, plunging the Southeast Asian nation into further political turmoil, with hundreds of thousands of protesters gathered across the country to demand the release of the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the restoration of civilian rule.
The February 1 military takeover drew worldwide condemnation: the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and the EU all announced selected sanctions against the country’s generals, while the China expressed concern, saying that “the current development in Myanmar is absolutely not what China wants to see.”
As daily protests continue to take hold of the country, fears of a violent crackdown are growing.
Here is a timeline of events since the coup.
February 1st: The military detains Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior officials of the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in an early morning raid, hours before Myanmar’s new parliament strikes meets for its first session.
The military, known locally as Tatmadaw, declares a state of emergency for a year and says it has taken action over alleged fraud in the November elections that the NLD won in landslide.
He handed over all executive, legislative and judicial powers to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
The NLD issues a statement on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi written before his arrest, urging people to protest the coup.
February 2: US refers to the military takeover as a coup.
In Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, people are banging pots and pans and sounding horns in protest. Doctors and student groups are calling for civil disobedience campaigns.
February 3: Staff from 70 Myanmar hospitals and medical services stop working. Others wear red ribbons as part of a campaign of civil disobedience.
NLD offices in several parts of the country are under attack, with documents, computers and laptops taken.
The Burmese police press charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and demand his detention until February 15. A police document says army officers who searched his home found six hand-held radios illegally imported and used without permission.
Charges are also being filed against President Win Myint for violating protocols to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The generals are blocking Facebook, as well as its Messenger and WhatsApp services, for the sake of “stability”.
February 4: A group of protesters wave banners and chant anti-coup slogans in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city, during the first street protest against the military takeover. At least three people are arrested.
The United Nations Security Council calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other military detainees, but does not condemn the coup.
February 5: Teachers and some government employees are joining the civil disobedience movement, saying they will not work for the authorities unless the elected government is restored.
Japanese beverage group Kirin is ending its alliance with Myanmar Economic Holdings (MEHL), a military conglomerate.
February 6: The Tatmadaw orders lockdowns on Twitter and Instagram, where protesters shared information, then blackout across the internet. Tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest the coup in Yangon and other cities.
February 7: The protests are sweeping across Myanmar in the largest manifestation of mass anger since a 2007 uprising by Buddhist monks that helped drive democratic reforms.
Internet access is restored, but social media platforms remain blocked.
February 8: The military is imposing a curfew on Yangon, Mandalay and other townships, and banning gatherings of more than five people in an attempt to stamp out growing protests.
Min Aung Hlaing makes his first televised speech to the nation and promises to hold new elections in a year and hand over power to the victors.
February 9: Police mainly fire guns into the air and use water cannons and rubber bullets in an attempt to eliminate protesters in the capital Naypyidaw.
A young woman is shot in the head from a live bullet. Doctors say she is unlikely to survive.
New Zealand is suspending high-level contacts with Myanmar and imposing travel bans on its top generals.
February 11th: The United States is imposing sanctions on Myanmar’s interim president and several other military officers and warning generals that there may be more economic punishment to come.
Ming Aung Hlaing urges government workers to return to work in his first public remarks on the protests against him.
12 February: Hundreds of thousands of people join nationwide pro-democracy protests, with three people injured by rubber bullets in clashes with police.
The United Nations Human Rights Council urges Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, and to refrain from violence against those protesting the coup.
February 13: The military suspends laws forcing security forces to detain suspects or search private property without court approval and order the arrest of well-known supporters of mass protests.
He is also threatening to take action against officials who refuse to return to work.
February 14th: The civil disobedience movement spreads, disrupting air and rail travel.
February 15: Armored vehicles are deployed in major cities and internet access is blocked as a judge extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s two-week detention by two more days.
February 16: Army denies withdrawal of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government was a coup, as police lay second charge against de facto leader, accusing him of violating the country’s natural disaster law .
Chen Hai, China’s ambassador to Myanmar, responds to almost daily protests outside the country’s mission in Yangon, saying Beijing was not informed prior to the military takeover. He says the situation was “absolutely not what China wants to see” and dismisses rumors of Chinese involvement in the coup as “completely absurd.”
February 17: Hundreds of thousands of people march again as protesters in Yangon park their cars in the middle of city streets and bridges to prevent army trucks from moving to disperse the protests.
February 18: The UK and Canada are imposing sanctions on Myanmar generals while Japan says it agrees with the US, India and Australia that democracy must be restored quickly.
February 19: Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the young woman shot in the head in Naypyidaw, dies of her injuries.
February 20: Security forces opened fire on strikers and other protesters at a Mandalay shipyard, killing at least two people and injuring 20 others.
Singapore condemns the killings as “inexcusable” and the UK is threatening “further measures”.
the 21st of February: Undeterred by the violence, tens of thousands of people are gathering again in the towns and villages of Myanmar.
Facebook is removing the army’s main page for repeated violations of its standards “prohibiting incitement to violence and the coordination of harm.” The military is warning people against participating in a planned general strike, saying the confrontation could cost more lives.
February 22: The demonstrators launch a general strike. Businesses across the country are closing as protesters gather by the hundreds of thousands in what local media have called the biggest protests since the coup.
The US sanctions two other generals involved in the takeover, as the EU is also announcing sanctions against the military.