One year on, the People’s Revolution Ensure the Coup is Failing

February 4th, 2022  •  Author:   Progressive Voice  •  7 minute read
Featured image

“The victory may not have arrived yet, but it is coming, and the people are leading the way.”

One year since the Myanmar military launched its desperate power grab, the people have shown that they simply will not allow it. The junta’s pathetic attempts to stop the ‘Silent Strike’ of 1st of February, 2022 reveal the pettiness, the brutality, the brittleness and the total disregard that the military has for the Myanmar people. This is something that those celebrating the 73rd Karen Revolution Day, have been telling the world for every one of those 73 years.

Leading up to the 1st of February, a planned silent strike, the third such iteration, had been called for by one of the revolutionary organizations, the General Strike Committee’s Coordination Body and promoted by Myanmar netizens. The call was for businesses to remain closed and people to stay at home on the 1st of February, marking one year since that dark day and to demonstrate the people’s opposition to their illegal power-grab attempt. The junta threatened shops with confiscation of their property and criminal charges if they closed and forced shop-owners to sign pledges that they would remain open on the 1st. Several shop owners in Yangon and Mandalay were arrested leading up to the 1st. Furthermore, Telegram channels run by military supporters have been filled with photos of local businesses that are alleged to be supporting the National Unity Government or the People’s Defence Forces, and in some instances, following their photos being posted, have been raided by junta soldiers. Telegram appears completely unwilling to take any action against the type of incitement to violence that these channels are filled with. After the threats, organizers modified their call in order to protect business owners who were particularly vulnerable, and did not call on businesses to close, but rather for people not to shop at them.

The result was powerful. Across Myanmar, streets were deserted as the vast majority of people stayed at home. In Yangon, Dawei, Myitkyina, Mandalay and towns and cities throughout the country, images of empty streets showed the strength of the movement. Despite some pro-military organized events, Myanmar’s streets were silent.

The 1st of February protest action marked one year since the beginning of the ill-fated coup attempt, but the day before, the 31st of January, marked 73 years of the Karen Revolution. Throughout this period, since independence, the Karen people have suffered immensely at the hands of the Myanmar military, as it has centralized power and denied ethnic people their right to self-determination through various regimes, governments and ruling juntas. On this year’s revolution day, the junta launched airstrikes in Mutraw in the northern part of Karen State, hitting a school. This is a continuation of the airstrikes and military offensives using heavy artillery that the junta has used against the Karen National Union, which has provided essential support to the forces of the Spring Revolution, but sadly, a continuation of the brutality of the past 73 years.

The common enemy of the murderous military junta has also seen renewed efforts at bringing all the people of Myanmar together to forge a new path. This is exemplified by the first people’s assembly convened by the National Unity Consultative Council on 27-29 January, bringing together a diverse group of Myanmar’s political and social forces to work together to defeat the military. Given the overwhelming rejection of the military, and the strength of the resistance one year after the coup attempt started, it is disappointing that international bodies such as the UN Security Council cannot agree to even have an open briefing on the humanitarian and human rights situation in Myanmar and were unwilling to hear from Myanmar civil society organizations. This is despite the fact that according to data compiled by ACLED, Myanmar has seen more attacks that have harmed and/or impacted civilians than countries such as Iraq, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

However, while bodies such as the UN Security Council prevaricate, it is clear that the Myanmar people are taking their future in their own hands. Silent strikes, protests on the street, boycott of military products, armed resistance to defend communities, or the long-struggle for self-determination of ethnic peoples, are all contributing to what has been a failed coup. The victory may not have arrived yet, but it is coming, and the people are leading the way.


[1] One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country’s name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term ‘Myanmar’ in acknowledgement that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of ‘Myanmar’ rather than ‘Burma’ without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten. Thus, under certain circumstances, ‘Burma’ is used.

Resources from the past week


Statements and Press Releases

Joint Statement on Myanmar UN Security Council Open Briefing

By 286 Organizations

Myanmar: World must act now to prevent another year of intolerable ‘death and misery’

By Amnesty International

APHR responds to Cambodia statement, urges focus on Myanmar crisis

By ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights

Myanmar: Year of Brutality in Coup’s Wake

By Human Rights Watch

Australia: Sanction Myanmar’s Coup Leaders

By Human Rights Watch

Myanmar: Urgent Action Needed to Block Foreign Revenue

By Human Rights Watch

ILO estimates reveal 1.6 million jobs lost in Myanmar in 2021

By International Labour Organization

Targeted sanctions one year after attempted coup in Myanmar

By Justice For Myanmar

ပထမအကြိမ်ပြည်သူ့ညီလာခံ၏ ထုတ်ပြန်ကြေညာချက်

By National Unity Consultative Council

အကြမ်းဖက်စစ်အုပ်စုအား စစ်လက်နက်များ ၀ယ်ယူရရှိနိုင်စေရန် ပံ့ပိုးနေသော လုပ်ငန်းများဆိုင်ရာ ထုတ်ပြန်ကြေညာချက် (၁/၂၀၂၂)

By National Unity Government (Ministry of Commerce)

Myanmar: One year into the coup, Bachelet urges governments and businesses to heed voices of the people, intensify pressure on the military

By Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General – on Myanmar

By Secretary-General, United Nations

Violence Intensifies in Myanmar as at least 150,000 Children Forced from their Homes in the Year Since Military Coup

By Save the Children

There Are Reasons for Optimism, One Year On From the Attempted Coup

By Special Advisory Council for Myanmar

Treasury Publishes New Business Advisory on Heightened Risk of Doing Business in Burma

By United States Department of the Treasury

Security Alert: Caution advised on the anniversary of the coup

By U.S. Embassy in Burma

Woodside to withdraw from Myanmar

By Woodside Petroleum



Analysis: the Myanmar junta’s Cybersecurity Law would be a disaster for human rights

By Access Now

Military’s cyber security bill worse than their previous draft

By Free Expression Myanmar

“Our Health Workers Are Working in Fear”: Targeted Violence against Health Care One Year after Myanmar’s Military Coup, January 2022

By Insecurity Insight, Johns Hopkins University and Physicians for Human Rights

One Year Later: What Has Been Done to Stop the Myanmar Military’s Atrocity Crimes?

By Justice For Myanmar

Myanmar Humanitarian Response Plan 2022 (January 2022)

By United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Progressive Voice is a participatory, rights-based policy research and advocacy organization that was born out of Burma Partnership. Burma Partnership officially ended its work on October 10, 2016 transitioning to a rights-based policy research and advocacy organization called Progressive Voice. For further information, please see our press release “Burma Partnership Celebrates Continuing Regional Solidarity for Burma and Embraces the Work Ahead for Progressive Voice.”