Indo-Pacific Explainer: The 2021 Myanmar Coup

On 1 February 2021, Myanmar’s military, the so-called Tatmadaw, overthrew the democratically
elected government led by the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Huge protests erupted across the country following the coup, with widespread calls for the return of the elected government. When the junta violently cracked down on these demonstrations, protesters took up arms. The opposition formed a parallel government and fighting force, leading to a civil conflict that has thrown an already-fragile Myanmar into turmoil. 2.6 million people have been displaced across the country. Hit hard by COVID, poverty and hunger are now pervasive as Myanmar fails to provide even basic services.

Unable to consolidate its hold of the country, the Tatmadaw has resorted to increasingly extreme measures. The United Nations (UN) called the Tatmadaw’s conduct “war crimes and crimes against humanity” with “systematic attacks against civilians”. As of January 2024, more than 15,000 people have been reported killed in the conflict.

Download the Explainer

Subscribe to our email list

Subscribe to our email list and stay up to date with our latest news and events. Unsubscribe any time.