Demonstrations and a deadly crackdown have shaken the nation since the military seized power in a coup on February 1, detaining and ousting the civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi. What was a restrained response by the military when initially confronted with peaceful street demonstrations, work stoppages and civil disobedience has escalated into a reign of terror to quash the pro-democracy movement known as the Spring Revolution. At the time of writing, more than 800 have died at the hands of military and police forces, many shot in the head; thousands have been injured, more than 4,000 protestors have been arrested, and some have been abducted.
Working as a freelance Burmese photojournalist, I have been documenting Myanmar’s Spring Revolution and the brutal crackdown by the military, doing so at great personal risk. Journalists have been pursued, more than 70 have been arrested, and some have been forced into exile. On the ground, we stopped wearing helmets marked “PRESS” when we realized soldiers were targeting photographers.
Since February 1, I have been on the streets every day, photographing protests and clashes, and have encountered many challenges, working in the midst of gunfire (both live rounds and rubber bullets), teargas and stun grenades, and have had to flee military and police forces, hiding in random apartments with the help of civilians, and moving from place to place in the evening to avoid night-time searches and arrests.
On the afternoon of March 31, as I got back to my car after photographing a group of peaceful protestors in downtown Yangon, two military vehicles attempted to arrest us; one of them rammed the car to stop me leaving, and soldiers pointed their guns at myself and the other reporters in the car. To my surprise, I managed to accelerate and get away before the soldiers had time to shoot.
I am still in Myanmar continuing my reporting, and must therefore remain anonymous for obvious security reasons.