On February 1, the Myanmar military staged a coup and seized power from the elected civilian government under the pretext of alleged election fraud. The coup leaders detained top government leaders and activists, shut off the internet, and suspended flights. This marks a dark and uncertain turn in the country’s decade-long, fraught experiment with partial democratization.
The coup threatens to reverse gains in Myanmar in democratic rights. A strong labor movement has been building for a decade through militant struggle by factory workers, preparing them for a strong showing in the current uprising. Building on the growing walkouts by public and private sector workers over the last three weeks, the general strikes since February 22 are now offering the best hope to resist the coup and to build a stronger labor movement beyond.