Myanmar citizens' lives upended two years post-coup
STORY: In the two years since Myanmar’s coup… Aye Chan has gone from factory worker… to protester… to resistance fighter.
He lost a leg in that fight and is still learning how to use a prosthetic one.
He remembers well the feelings of elation… and the confusion that followed…
…on the day Myanmar’s military led a coup unseating Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government.
“I was happy when we won. But it didn’t last long. On the morning of the coup, I woke up and used my phone and there was no internet. At first, I thought it was because I didn’t pay my phone bill. So I topped up (credit), but it was still not working so I went to the tea shop. Others told me that there was a coup. My first question was, what is a coup and why is there a coup? Later, I joined the protest against the coup.”
Reuters is not disclosing Aye Chan’s current whereabouts for security reasons.
When protest groups began taking up arms, he joined.
He said resistance troops have high morale… but can’t fend off air strikes from a well-equipped army.
In the wake of the coup… some 1.2 million people have been displaced and over 70,000 have left the country.
That’s according to the United Nations, which has accused the military of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Myanmar's military says it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against "terrorists."
It did not respond to requests for comment by Reuters.
The military has pledged to hold an election by August… albeit with tough rules that could sideline opponents.
Aye Chan is skeptical.
"I don’t think it is possible to do an election,” he says.
“....We already selected our elected government, right? So it is not necessary for doing the new election. ”
The coup also upended Han Lay’s life.
She took part in protests and used her platform at an international beauty contest in Thailand to speak out.
That led to charges and she fled to Canada, where she now lives with a Burmese-Canadian family.
"I'm living in a new country and facing culture difference and I have to start from the beginning... (FLASH) I always welcome to challenges and ready, ready to face new challenges because it's always make me even stronger."
She says even from abroad, she's doing all she can to raise awareness...
While Aye Chan says he'll continue his fight.
"I never had a regret while I was fighting and when I got injured. I chose this route because I believe this route is the right one. If I recover enough, I will go back to war. This is until the end."
An estimated 19,000 people died in 2022 alone, according to a U.S. based conflict monitoring group.