Sanctions, sorrow and warnings as Myanmar marks coup anniversary

Sanctions, sorrow and warnings as Myanmar marks coup anniversary
A silent strike is taking place in Myanmar to mark the first anniversary since the coup.
3 min read
01 February, 2022
The Myanmar coup took place last year [Getty]

A year after Myanmar's elected government was ousted in a military coup, the anniversary on Tuesday has been marked with a silent strike, fresh sanctions, and grim warnings about the country's trajectory.

Here is a selection of comments and reactions from around the world:

'A dark era'

"We are still living in a dark era... We have to think how we can struggle on through our daily lives under this military dictatorship rather than about our goals, our dreams in the future." Yangon market-goer Htoo Aung -- using a pseudonym for fear of reprisal.

'The regime bears responsibility'

"Over 14 million people are in humanitarian need, the economy is in crisis, democratic gains have been reversed, and conflict is spreading across the country," a joint statement from the European Union, United States, South Korea and others read.

"The military regime bears responsibility for this crisis... We reiterate our call on the military regime to immediately end the state of emergency, allow unhindered humanitarian access, release all arbitrarily detained persons, including foreigners, and swiftly return the country to the democratic process."

A reckoning 

"Tragically, reports received over the last year suggest that well over a thousand individuals have been killed in circumstances that may qualify as crimes against humanity or war crimes," said UN investigator Nicholas Koumjian.

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"(We are) working diligently to substantiate and document the facts underlying these reports to establish whether these crimes were committed and if so, who is criminally responsible, and to prepare files that could facilitate prosecutions."

Turning the screw

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the anniversary to dial up pressure on the regime, with new sanctions against Attorney General Thida Oo, Supreme Court Chief Justice Tun Tun Oo, Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Tin Oo and others.

"We are imposing sanctions in coordination with the UK and Canada on additional Burmese regime individuals, a defense entity, and cronies who materially support the regime," he said, using a former name for the country.

"We'll continue pressing to restore Burma's democratic transition."

What lies ahead

"Myanmar is on the brink of collapse," warned Catherine Renshaw, a professor at Western Sydney University, predicting even more difficult times ahead.

"With every week that passes, the suffering becomes greater, grievances mount and distrust between the military and its opponents increases. A full-scale civil war appears inevitable."

The dissident

"Our future is brighter than our past. We aren't going backwards or trapped in the same vicious cycle. I call on everyone to stand up for what's rightful for people & do the right thing for the sake of people in Myanmar. We can't waste a minute. People r suffering daily," anti-coup activist Thinzar Shunlei Yi wrote on Twitter.