Myanmar’s generals have seized power in a coup, plunging the Southeast Asian nation into renewed political turmoil, with hundreds of thousands of demonstrators rallying across the country demanding the release of elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the restoration of civilian rule.
The military takeover on February 1 drew global condemnation: The US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and the EU have all announced selected sanctions on the country’s generals, while China has expressed concern, saying that “the current development in Myanmar is absolutely not what China wants to see”.
As daily protests continue to grip the country, fears of a violent crackdown are growing.
Here is a timeline of events since the coup.
February 1: The military detains Aung San Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other senior figures from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) in an early morning raid, hours before Myanmar’s new parliament was set to meet for its first session.
The military, known locally as the Tatmadaw, declares a state of emergency for a year, and says it took action because of alleged fraud in the November election that the NLD won in a landslide.
It hands over all executive, legislative and judicial powers to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.
The NLD publishes a statement on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi written before she was detained, urging people to protest against the coup.
February 2: US designates the military takeover a coup.
In Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon, people bang pots and pans and sound car horns in protest. Doctors and student groups call for civil disobedience campaigns.
February 3: Staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments across Myanmar stop work. Others wear red ribbons as part of a civil disobedience campaign.
The NLD’s offices in several regions of the country are raided, with documents, computers and laptops taken.
Myanmar police file charges against Aung San Suu Kyi and seek her detention until February 15. A police document says military officers who searched her home found six hand-held radios that were imported illegally and used without permission.
Charges are also filed against President Win Myint for violating protocols to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
The generals block Facebook, as well as its Messenger and WhatsApp services, for the sake of “stability”.
February 4: A group of protesters wave banners and chant anti-coup slogans in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second-biggest city, in the first such street protest against the army takeover. At least three people are arrested.
The United Nations Security Council calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and others detained by the military, but stops short of condemning the coup.
February 5: Teachers and some government workers join the Civil Disobedience movement, saying they will not work for the authorities unless the elected government is restored.
Japanese beverage group Kirin terminates its alliance with Myanmar Economic Holdings (MEHL), a military conglomerate.
February 6: The Tatmadaw orders blocks on Twitter and Instagram, where protesters had been sharing information, and then a blackout of the entire internet. Tens of thousands of people take to the streets to protest against the coup in Yangon and other cities.
February 7: Protests sweep Myanmar in the biggest show of mass anger since a 2007 uprising by Buddhist monks that helped lead to democratic reforms.
Internet access is restored, but social media platforms remain blocked.
February 8: Military imposes a curfew in Yangon, Mandalay and other townships, and bans gatherings of more than five people in a bid to stamp out growing protests.
Min Aung Hlaing makes first televised address to the nation and promises to hold new elections in a year and hand power to the winners.
February 9: Police fire guns mostly into the air, and use water cannon and rubber-coated bullets to try to clear protesters in the capital Naypyidaw.
One young woman is shot in the head with a live bullet. Doctors say she is unlikely to survive.
New Zealand suspends high-level contact with Myanmar and imposes travel bans on its top generals.
February 11: The US imposes sanctions on Myanmar’s acting president and several other military officers and warns the generals there could be more economic punishment to come.
Ming Aung Hlaing urges government employees to return to work in his first public remarks on the protests against him.
February 12: Hundreds of thousands join nationwide pro-democracy demonstrations, with three people wounded by rubber-coated bullets in clashes with police.
The UN Human Rights Council urges Myanmar to release Aung San Suu Kyi and other officials, and refrain from violence against people protesting against the coup.
February 13: The military suspends laws constraining security forces from detaining suspects or searching private property without court approval and orders the arrest of well-known backers of mass protests.
It also threatens action against civil servants who refuse to return to work.
February 14: The civil disobedience movement spreads, disrupting air and train travel.
February 15: Armoured vehicles are deployed in main cities and internet access is blocked as a judge extends Aung San Suu Kyi’s two-week detention by an additional two days.
February 16: Military denies its removal of Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government was a coup, as police file a second charge against the de facto leader, accusing her of violating the country’s Natural Disaster Law.
Chen Hai, China’s ambassador to Myanmar, responds to near-daily protests in front of the country’s mission in Yangon, saying Beijing was not informed in advance of the military takeover. He says the situation was “absolutely not what China wants to see” and dismisses rumours of Chinese involvement in the coup as “completely nonsense”.
February 17: Hundreds of thousands of people march again as demonstrators in Yangon park their cars in the middle of city streets and bridges to prevent army trucks from moving to break up protests.
February 18: The UK and Canada impose sanctions on Myanmar’s generals while Japan says it agrees with the US, India and Australia that democracy must be restored quickly.
February 19: Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the young woman shot in the head in Naypyidaw, dies from her wounds.
February 20: Security forces open fire on striking workers and other protesters at a Mandalay shipyard, killing at least two people and wounding 20 more.
Singapore condemns the killings as “inexcusable” and the UK threatens “further action”.
February 21: Undeterred by the violence, tens of thousands of people rally again in cities and towns across Myanmar.
Facebook takes down the military’s main page for repeated violations of its standards “prohibiting incitement of violence and coordinating harm”. The military warns people against taking part in a planned general strike saying confrontation could cost more lives.
February 22: Protesters launch a general strike. Businesses across the country close as protesters gather in their hundreds of thousands in what local media called the biggest protests since the coup.
The US sanctions two more generals involved in the takeover, as the EU also announces sanctions on the military.