Since the military’s forceful seizure of power in February 1st coup, country-wide protests for the restoration of democracy have been met with brutal military opposition. The second weekend of March, the week in which these photos have been taken marked one of the bloodiest crackdowns with 56 people killed.

The border city of Muse is a strategic crossroads, connecting India to China and a key location for the jade trade. Muse also lies along the path of the Sino-Myanmar oil and gas pipeline, linking Myanmar‘s deep-water port of Kyaukphyu (Sittwe) with Kunming in Yunnan province of China.

A main demand among the demonstrators is a federal union, that would allow for the internal autonomy within the ethnic states and a strong voice regarding massive development projects like the pipeline.

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