Myanmar democracy movement moves out of Suu Kyi’s shadow
Imprisoned by the military, detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi is isolated from the young protesters now forging their own struggle for democracy outside of her shadow.
Sunday marks six months since her National League for Democracy (NLD) government was ousted, setting off a mass uprising and violent military crackdown that has killed nearly 1,000 people.
Suu Kyi remains a revered figure locally for her courageous opposition to a previous junta, despite her international reputation suffering after she governed in a power-sharing deal with the generals.
But for many still fighting, the revolution must go further than the movement the Nobel laureate led decades ago, and permanently root out military dominance of the country's politics and economy.
Suu Kyi still has the respect and love of many in Myanmar, said Manny Maung, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, "but more as a historical figure."
The democracy campaign "no longer wants an icon", she added.
"They have a much more decentralised approach to power and want to see the emergence of diverse political forces."
Some have also shunned nonviolence -- a core principle of Suu Kyi's.
Off the streets, a shadow "National Unity Government" of ousted lawmakers from Suu Kyi's party is working to garner international support and direct opposition to the junta without her.
But within its ranks are "strong divisions between the old guard loyal to Suu Kyi and the progressive wing that is eager for renewal," Maung told AFP.
The group recently invited the country's Rohingya community to join the fight against the junta, promising an end to discriminatory policies against the stateless minority.
The use of the word "Rohingya" was new -- Suu Kyi's government had refused to even use the term.
Her refusal to condemn a brutal 2017 crackdown that sent 750,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh sorely damaged her reputation abroad, especially after she travelled to The Hague to defend the generals against genocide charges.