Anti-coup demonstrators, many with signs showing support for a civilian-formed federal army, hold candles and sing protest songs as they sit in the streets of Yangon, Myanmar, on April 3, 2021. (New York Times photos) Late last month, foreign officials in army regalia toasted their hosts in Naypyitaw, the bunkered capital built by Myanmar's military. Ice clinked in frosted glasses. A lavish spread had been laid out for the foreign dignitaries in honor of Myanmar's Armed Forces Day. That very day, the military, which had seized power Feb 1, gunned down more than 100 of its own citizens. Far from publicly condemning the brutality, the military representatives from neighbouring countries — India, China, Thailand and Vietnam among them — posed grinning with the generals, legitimizing their putsch. The coup in Myanmar feels like a relic of a Southeast Asian past, when men in uniform roamed a vast dictators' playground. But it also brings home how a region once celebrated for its transformative "people power" revolutions — against Suharto of Indonesia and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines — has been sliding back into autocracy. From Cambodia and the Philippines to Malaysia and Thailand, democracy is languishing. Electoral politics and civil liberties… Read full this story
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