City of Warriors Resistance Across the Border to the Myanmar Military Junta

A Thai town on the border to Myanmar has become a hotbed of resistance to the military junta in Yangon. Many believe this could be the last chance to save the country from dictatorship.
By Maria Stöhr in Mae Sot, Thailand
A street scene in Mae Sot, Thailand

A street scene in Mae Sot, Thailand

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL
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Min Nyo, 54, suffered a vicious beating from the military junta in Myanmar and was locked up. He still has the shirt he was wearing during the ordeal.

Min Nyo, 54, suffered a vicious beating from the military junta in Myanmar and was locked up. He still has the shirt he was wearing during the ordeal.

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL
One of two border crossings in Mae Sot. On the other side is the Myanmar city of Myawaddy.

One of two border crossings in Mae Sot. On the other side is the Myanmar city of Myawaddy.

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL
A woman selling meat in Mae Sot. The Thai city has always been a place where opposition activists from Myanmar end up, along with those from Thailand’s poorer neighbor who are looking for a better life.

A woman selling meat in Mae Sot. The Thai city has always been a place where opposition activists from Myanmar end up, along with those from Thailand’s poorer neighbor who are looking for a better life.

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL
In February, shortly after the military putsch, thousand of people took to the streets of Yangon demanding that Aung San Suu Kyi be released. These days, demonstrators no longer protest openly for fear of the military.

In February, shortly after the military putsch, thousand of people took to the streets of Yangon demanding that Aung San Suu Kyi be released. These days, demonstrators no longer protest openly for fear of the military.

Foto: STR / AFP
Shortly after the putsch: Protesters confront the military in Yangon.

Shortly after the putsch: Protesters confront the military in Yangon.

Foto: Getty Images
In late October, several homes went up in flames in Thantlang, in the Myanmar region of Chin State, reportedly the result of military air strikes.

In late October, several homes went up in flames in Thantlang, in the Myanmar region of Chin State, reportedly the result of military air strikes.

Foto: STRINGER / AFP
A young woman from Myanmar at the market in Mae Sot.

A young woman from Myanmar at the market in Mae Sot.

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL
PDF fighters training in the jungle

PDF fighters training in the jungle

Foto: J Paing / MPA
"It could be that I’ll die. And if that happens, somebody else will stand up and continue my work. Myanmar must be free. It has to work this time. We will win."

Thinzar, who smuggles weapons into Myanmar

The border between Myanmar and Thailand at the border town of Mae Sot.

The border between Myanmar and Thailand at the border town of Mae Sot.

Foto: Aung Naing Soe / DER SPIEGEL

This piece is part of the Global Societies series. The project runs for three years and is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.