After the military coup in Myanmar on Feb 1, which sought to overturn the landslide victory of the National League for Democracy (NLD) in the November elections, the situation in the country has rapidly deteriorated. Popular protests, which began with the banging of pots and pans, have escalated significantly into a major uprising, with hundreds of thousands of citizens taking to the streets across the country. Caught off-guard by the size and intensity of the protests, the military has responded with lethal force, using not only tear gas and water cannon, but also by firing live bullets into dense crowds. At least 40 people have been killed so far and hundreds injured.
This is worrying. The situation shows no sign of abating. By all indicators, the coup and its aftermath will not only weaken but also undermine the regime's moral authority to govern. The extent of the protests exposed its lack of political legitimacy, and strikes across several sectors, even by civil servants, have crippled the economy. The coup, which triggered widespread international condemnation, poses difficult challenges for Asean, of which Myanmar is a member.