The Myanmar military orchestrated a coup d’état on the 1st February 2021, imposing a year-long state of emergency and detaining President Win Myint, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and civilian ministers and members of Parliament. Protests against the coup d’état broke out in Myanmar the next day and have since widened into labour strikes, civil disobedience, pot-banging and military boycott campaigns, but the military has instigated a counter-campaign of an internet blackout, protest arrests and the use of violence against demonstrators.
The Milk Tea Alliance was initially an Internet joke but became a Internet solidarity movement drawing parallels between Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Thailand, all nations drink milk tea and have recently seen pro-democracy protests and/or clashed with Chinese trolls/nationalists on social media. Activists in Myanmar and Thailand have shared pictures of Royal Myanmar Tea bags online in solidarity with protesters in Myanmar, while some activists have clearly used anti-China placards and memes both in Myanmar's protests and online. The three-finger ‘Hunger Games’ salute seen in Thailand’s protests has also been used in Myanmar as activists borrow symbols from other protest movements in the region.
What factors are driving these current protests? Is it simply the military coup, or part of a wider stand for democracy and human rights, or the start of an anti-China stance spreading across Asia?