Myanmar's year of turmoil: From coup to jailing of Suu Kyi

In this file photo taken on 2 March 2021, protesters react after tear gas is fired by police during a demonstration against the military coup in the northwestern town of Kale. On 1 February 2022, Myanmar marks one year since Myanmar's military seized power, ousting the civilian government and arresting its de facto leader Aung San Suu KyiAFP file photo

Myanmar's military seized power on 1 February last year, ousting the civilian government and arresting its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Nearly 1,500 people have since been killed and thousands of others arrested as the junta wages a bloody crackdown on dissent.

Here is a look back at the year since the coup, which ended a decade-long experiment with democracy after half a century of military rule.

Pre-dawn raids

Soldiers detain Suu Kyi and her top allies during pre-dawn raids on 1 February ahead of the opening of the new parliament.

The generals claim fraud in the November 2020 election, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.

Their actions spark global condemnation, from Pope Francis to US president Joe Biden.

Internet blocked

Resistance to the coup begins with people banging pots and pans -- a practice traditionally associated with driving out evil spirits.

The junta tries to block social media platforms including Facebook, which is hugely popular in Myanmar. Nightly internet blackouts are later imposed.

Bold defiance

Popular dissent surges over the weekend of 6 and 7 February, with huge crowds gathering on the streets calling for the release of Suu Kyi.

In the following weeks, these protests swell to hundreds of thousands of people in cities and villages around the country.

Workers begin a nationwide strike on 8 February.

A slogan is written on a street as a protest after the coup in Yangon, Myanmar on 21 February 2021. Picture taken with iPhone panoramic mode

A 19-year-old woman was shot in the head when police fire on crowds in the capital Naypyidaw the next day.

International sanctions

Washington soon announces sanctions against several military officials, including junta chief Min Aung Hlaing.

More sanctions follow from Britain and the European Union.

Growing crackdown

Mya Thwate Thwate Khaing, the young woman shot 10 days earlier, dies on 19 February after becoming a national symbol of opposition to the junta.

Violent crackdowns on street protests escalate, and by 11 March, Amnesty International says it has documented atrocities by the junta including the use of battlefield weapons on unarmed protesters.

A man flashes the three-finger salute as he passes burning tires during a protest against the military coup, in Mandalay, Myanmar on 1 April 2021

A day later, a UN rights expert on Myanmar accuses the military of crimes against humanity.

Deadliest day

More than 100 civilians are killed in protest crackdowns on 27 March – ‘Armed Forces Day’, the military's annual show of strength. It is the deadliest day since the coup.

The next month, ousted civilian lawmakers forced into hiding announce the formation of a shadow "National Unity Government".

American journalist detained

Danny Fenster, an American editor at local outlet Frontier Myanmar, is detained at Yangon's airport as he attempts to leave the country on 24 May.

Following a November trial inside a prison in Yangon, he is jailed for 11 years for unlawful association, incitement against the military and breaching visa rules.

Three days later, he is pardoned and freed, and flies home to be reunited with his family at New York's JFK airport.

Suu Kyi's trial begins

In June, more than four months after she was detained, Suu Kyi goes on trial in a junta court.

his file handout photo taken on May 24, 2021 and released by Myanmar's Ministry of Information on May 26 shows detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi (L) and detained president Win Myint (R) during their first court appearance in Naypyidaw, since the military detained them in a coup on February

She faces an eclectic mix of charges, including illegally importing walkie-talkies and flouting Covid-19 restrictions during the 2020 elections.

Covid wave

Coronavirus infections surge across Myanmar from late June, with many pro-democracy medical staff on strike and the public avoiding military-run hospitals.

This handout photo taken and released by Dawei Watch on 7 July, 2021 shows protesters with coloured smoke flares taking part in a demonstration against the military coup in Dawei, Myanmar

People defy curfews to queue for oxygen cylinders for their loved ones, and volunteers take up the grim task of bringing out the dead for cremation.

Election results cancelled

In late July, the junta cancels the results of the 2020 polls, claiming more than 11 million instances of voter fraud.

Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing says new elections will be held by August 2023.

Suu Kyi jailed

On 6 December, Suu Kyi is jailed for four years for incitement against the military and breaching Covid-19 regulations. The sentence is then cut to two years.

On 10 January, she is sentenced to another four years in prison after being convicted of two charges related to illegally importing and owning walkie-talkies and one of breaking coronavirus rules.

On 31 January, a source tells AFP the junta has charged the 76-year-old with influencing election officials during the 2020 election.

Suu Kyi is being held under house arrest in Naypyidaw while facing a host of other charges that could see her jailed for decades.