Students Take a Leading Role in Protests against the Coup in Myanmar

This article originally appeared on University World News by Naw Say Phaw Waa

After Myanmar’s military seized power in the first week of February, the mass of Myanmar’s younger generation are protesting against the coup in the strongest movement led by young generation students since the country’s 1988 democracy uprising. They joined teachers, factory workers and different groups of civilians in mass demonstrations countrywide as the protests intensified this week.

University teachers have joined the protests elsewhere in Myanmar | Photo Credit: BBC BURMESE

“The difference between the 2007 Saffron Revolution and now is that there are protesters who are the younger generation and are leading the protest actively against this 2021 military coup,” Ma Phyo Phyo Aung, a former student leader of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions, told University World News.

The Saffron Revolution in 2007-8 was initiated by Buddhist monks in Myanmar against the removal of fuel price subsidies but was met with a government crackdown which led to many, including many monks, being jailed.

Myanmar’s Generation Z – those born between 1995 and 2010 – are easily able to access technology. Young people have been using popular internet memes and jokes to gain international attention.

Hundreds of thousands of new generation protesters have made their presence noticeable with different styles of protest – wearing movie action-hero costumes, wedding dresses and ball gowns, and other interesting and eye-catching costumes as they rallied.

“We, students and young activists had to follow the monks in 2007 but now the new generation are becoming experts in technology which makes the information flow across the world,” Ma Phyo Phyo Aung said.