Since the generals’ coup in early February, Myanmar has slipped deeper and deeper into chaos. There were nationwide protests against the junta again on Thursday. In the past few weeks, the military had reacted with brutal severity to any resistance. According to estimates by the prisoners’ aid organization AAPP, at least 739 people have been killed so far, and more than 3,300 are currently in custody.
However, it has remained a little quieter in the past few days. Observers believe the army is showing restraint ahead of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Jakarta on Saturday. “At the moment the generals are making good weather because of the meeting,” said German chef Oliver Esser, who has lived in Myanmar for decades, of the German press agency. The 59-year-old fears that things will probably only really start after that. “It is total dictatorship.”
It has since been announced that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will not attend the summit. They are represented by their foreign ministers. Myanmar’s junta leader Min Aung Hlaing is expected – despite strong criticism from human rights organizations. The Asean want to discuss the crisis in their member state in Jakarta and meet in person despite the corona pandemic. At the beginning of March there was already an online meeting of the foreign ministers of the confederation.