Is Aung Suu Kyi a dictator

Putschists among themselves

It sounds like a bad joke: if one coup government asks another for tutoring in democracy ... To save it, Myanmar's dictator and army chief Min Aung Hlaing has now asked abroad for advice. However, not in the case of Western countries that have been tried and tested in democracy. Not even, for example, with its regional neighbor Indonesia, which has plenty of experience in the difficult transition from a dictatorship to a more open, democratic society. Rather, Min Aung Hlaing wrote to Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, of all places. The Thai ex-general himself came to power in a coup in May 2014 and in March 2020 secured the military's political dominance for years through a shamelessly rigged election.

In Myanmar, the military overthrew the democratically elected government on February 1, according to their own account "to save democracy". According to the story of the coup generals, Aung San Suu Kyi not only manipulated the parliamentary elections in November 2020, but also violated the constitution with her role as State Councilor and thus de facto head of government. In this case, according to the constitution, the army has a duty to uphold the unity of the nation and to protect the constitution.

Nuttaa Bow Mahattana has nothing but ridicule for Min Aung Hlaing's request for help in matters of democracy. "It sounds like a fish asks another fish how to climb a tree," says the prominent democracy activist in Bangkok to "nd," and adds sarcastically: "If the junta in Myanmar wants to find ways to how they can extend their power after elections and convince the international community that they have returned to democracy, then Prayut is the right advisor. "

Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated for a return to democracy all over Myanmar on Friday. "What earlier military regimes and Aung San Suu Kyi failed to achieve, the coup achieved: The whole country is united," said Khin Zaw Win, an analyst at the Tampadipa Institute, over the phone from Rangoon to "nd".

Three fingers, three demands

In Thailand, after a corona-related break, the democracy movement wants to resume its mass protests against the military and the monarchy in the coming weeks, while the Prayut regime is tightening the reins. After a three-year hiatus, those in power are reinstating the law against libel against the leading figures of the democracy movement.

On February 9, a Bangkok court refused to bail Arnon Nampha, Parit Chiwarak, Somyot Pruksakasemsuk and Patiwat Saraiyaem. "In response to ongoing public protests, the Thai government is abusing the draconian libel law to aggressively suppress speech they do not like," said Brad Adams. The Asia expert from the human rights organization Human Rights Watch (HRW) fears a return of the »dark days«. People could be held in custody for years, Adams said, because the trials against them would drag on forever.

The democracy movements of Myanmar and Thailand are learning from each other. The people of Myanmar have adopted the three-finger salute from the Thais as a hallmark of their rejection of the dictatorship. The greeting originally comes from the film trilogy "The Hunger Games - The Hunger Games". In Myanmar, the three fingers stand for the three demands: the release of all political prisoners, acceptance of the results of the parliamentary elections of November last year and the withdrawal of the military from politics.

The protest movement in Thailand has adopted the beating of pots and pans from Myanmar as "weapons" of their nonviolent resistance. On Thursday, more than 1,000 people in Bangkok underlined their three demands with loud hammering on kitchen utensils: resignation of the prime minister, constitutional reform and reform of the monarchy. And they showed their solidarity with the many thousands of demonstrators in Yangon, 918 kilometers away, with photos of Aung San Suu Kyi and slogans such as “We don't need a dictatorship Save Myanmar”.

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