We speak with a Burmese dissident about the military coup underway in Burma as de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been arrested. The coup unfolded hours before lawmakers were to take their seats in the opening of parliament, following a November election in which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won over 80% of the contested seats in the Burmese parliament and the military made unsubstantiated claims of fraud. Hundreds of lawmakers, activists and human rights defenders have also been detained since the coup, and telecommunications have been cut in parts of Burma, which the military calls Myanmar. “The military decided that they could no longer play this democracy game with Aung San Suu Kyi,” says Maung Zarni, co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition and the Forces of Renewal for Southeast Asia. “The military is completely outfoxed legally, as well as at the polls. That’s why the military decided to wreck the game.” He says the coup could also worsen the outlook for members of the Rohingya Muslim community, who have faced mass detention, killings and expulsion from Burma in a campaign widely recognized as genocide.
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