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  • The Social Distancing Festival- An International Platform Of Connection
  • The Social Distancing Festival- An International Platform Of Connection
  • The Social Distancing Festival- An International Platform Of Connection
  • The Social Distancing Festival- An International Platform Of Connection
  • The Social Distancing Festival- An International Platform Of Connection

Battling the Coup

Nyein

Celeste Drake
Celeste Drake
+September 27, 2021
In February, Myanmar's military seized control of the country and its civilians, leaving over 700 dead. The power grab happened after a general election in which Ms Suu Kyi's, a democracy icon, National League for Democracy party won by a landslide. As the army saw Ms Suu Kyi's party beginning to win the election, they immediately alleged voter fraud. Although there was no evidence of this according to the election commission.

On February 1, civilians woke up to their leaders detained. A coup began to take place. It was announced that there would be a year long state of emergency where new elections would occur due to the fraud they claimed.

As nationwide protests became the new normal, folks feared for their lives as they stood up to the crackdown. Some lost their lives in doing so. Nyein, who's name is abbreviated for her safety, documents the everyday resistance and some of the individual outcomes of standing up to the military. "Day by day covering the coup, I am very shocked by the military forces' behavior. They kill innocent people, including children. They arrest thousands," she comments. Some of her featured photographs depict frontline demonstrators, while others depict major injuries and loved ones lost to the coup. 
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During protests a certain hand symbol is often used. It is referred to as the three finger salute. This symbolizes hope and the call for democracy. It is also said that the hand symbol is a substitute for the middle finger. Protestors do not want to attract more aggression and therefore change the symbol collectively.

The military not only enforced curfews, but also used weapons such as water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition on civilians. On the deadliest day of the demonstrations, March 27, 2021, more than 100 residents were killed.

Military forces often turn their attention to journalists documenting the crisis. "The more they focus on us, arrest us, the more I want to contribute my photos to show the world." When asked why she made the decision to cover the dangerous demonstrations, Nyein says, "I knew I had to cover the coup with my photojournalist responsibilities and as a Myanmar citizen... I am covering a part of Myanmar history." 
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Now Min Aung Hlaing, the military commander-in-chief, has control of the country. In the Democratic election citizens had chosen Ms Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, but he has retained complete power over civilians and the elections. The military says it will allow for a free and fair election once the state of emergency is lifted. However, an election has not taken place and the military calls for tourism as it endures a COVID-19 emergency.

Many countries have responded and denounced the takeover. The United Nations General Assembly voted to formally condemn the coup and demanded an end to weapons dealing to the country. 
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Celeste Drake
Celeste Drake
photo journalism

Celeste Drake received a degree in Photography in Los Angeles, California, USA in 2019. She graduate...

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