It has been just over a year since Myanmar emphatically re-elected Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy as the dominant partner in the country’s quasi-civilian government. Next February, it will be a year since the armed forces, or Tatmadaw, ignored that result and seized power.

Over the past ten months, the scope and intensity of political violence in Myanmar has grown dramatically. The bitter civil wars that have long blighted the border areas now encompass the entire country, as groups from the majority Bamar population in the central regions have joined ethnic minority armed organisations in their struggles against military domination.

At first, the nation-wide civil disobedience movement (CDM) against the coup was characterised by boycotts, resignations, demonstrations, street barricades and symbolic gestures such as the coordinated beating of pots and pans at night. The new regime responded with conventional crowd control measures, usually conducted by the national police force.

However, within weeks the police were largely replaced by the armed forces and the level of violence rapidly escalated. The soldiers resorted to lethal force, prompting the resistance movement to manufacture defensive shields, body armour and weapons of their own. Armed with sling-shots, petrol bombs, bows and arrows and improvised airguns, however, they had little chance against the well-armed troops sent against them. The number of civilian casualties quickly mounted.

Please click here to read the full “Myanmar’s annus horribilis” article published at The Interpreter, written by Griffith Asia Institute Adjunct Professor Andrew Selth.