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Myanmar’s peaceful protests up for Nobel Peace Prize3 min read

March 29, 2021 3 min read

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Myanmar’s peaceful protests up for Nobel Peace Prize3 min read

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Here’s some hopeful news for democracy – the civil disobedience movement, or the peaceful protests going on currently in Myanmar, has been nominated for the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

The people of Myanmar protest against the military’s takover

Kristian Stokke, a professor of sociology at the University of Oslo in Norway, said the movement is a great representation of a peaceful response towards the military takeover in Myanmar.

This pro-democracy movement, especially if successful, can also have consequences outside Myanmar and inspire other non-violent pro-democracy movements elsewhere at a time when democracy is under pressure from authoritarian forces.

Kristian Stokke, Professor of sociology at the University of Oslo

What’s happening in Myanmar: A quick look

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is in South East Asia. It neighbours Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, China and India. It has a population of about 54 million, most of whom are Burmese speakers. The main religion is Buddhism.

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

The ruling military changed the country’s name from ‘Burma’ to ‘Myanmar’ in 1989. The two words mean the same thing but Myanmar is the more formal version. Some countries, including the UK, initially refused to use the name as a way of denying the regime’s legitimacy.

The country gained independence from Britain in 1948. It was ruled by the armed forces, that is the army, from 1962 until 2011, after which a new government began working towards bringing the power back to the people.

A protester holds a sign calling for the release of detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi

The military is now back in charge . It seized control on February 1 following a general election which democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party NLD won by a landslide. The armed forces backed the opposition party, who were demanding a recount of the vote, claiming fraud.

A coup, which is described as a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government, took place by the military, and Suu Kyi is being held at an unknown location since then.

So who’s in power right now?

Now, military commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has taken power. Since then, protests over the coup have erupted, despite the military imposing restrictions, using  water cannons, rubber bullets and live ammunition.

Owliver’s Obscure Facts

According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), a local monitoring group, 320 people have been killed and nearly 3,000 arrested since the coup.

How does one submit a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize?

Numerous people, among them parliamentarians and ministers from all countries, former laureates and certain university professors, are eligible to submit a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Nobel committee itself does not disclose who was considered or even nominated other than announcing the winner, though those who submit a nomination can publish it.

The 2021 peace prize winner will be announced on October 8. The World Food Programme (WFP) won last year.

Sources: AFP, BBC

Photos: AP, Reuters, Al Jazeera