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The Coup in Myanmar: Where is the NLD?

14 2 9

Ten days after the “soft” coup in which Myanmar’s military toppled the civilian government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD), resistance is building: Mass demonstrations have spread to most major cities in the ethnic-majority Bamar heartland of Myanmar and even some “ethnic” states in Myanmar’s border regions. Staff of at least six civilian ministries have now downed tools in protest and joined the Civil Disobedience Movement. Buddhist monks as well as Christian and Muslim religious associations have also joined protests in Yangon, Mandalay, and other cities. The junta is responding to the mounting street protest with cautious escalation. On February 9, the coup claimed its first victims with two protestors in critical condition after suffering gunshot wounds.

The junta is reluctant to launch an all-out escalation because it is weak: afraid of the economic fallout on the one hand and unsure of the loyalties of its own military and police forces on the other. Powerful images have reached us from Myanmar of policemen going over to join the protestors. They dynamic is still shifting away from the generals. As a result, there is still a window of opportunity to force the junta to the negotiating table.

All of which begs one question: Where is the NLD? On February 1, the very day the 3rd Union Parliament was to constitute itself, the ruling party was decapitated by the coup. President Win Myint and de facto head of government Aung San Suu Kyi were arrested, as were cabinet members, members of parliament, chief ministers of Myanmar’s 14 States and Regions, and members of of the NLD’s Central Executive Committee. It is ironic that the NLD, one of the most domestically popular parties in the world was so easy to cripple. The party’s top-down organizational structure made........

© The Diplomat

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