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QAnon followers back the Myanmar coup

The military takeover gives hope to believers in the world’s biggest conspiracy theory

While the recent military coup in Myanmar has outraged most of the world, one group is cheering it on. Followers of QAnon, a barely comprehensible conspiracy theory that casts former president Donald Trump as a lone warrior, bravely battling an occult cabal of influential pedophiles are, in fact, delighted.

On Monday, Myanmar’s military detained the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of the National League for Democracy party, announced a one-year state of emergency and took over the government. Its reasons for doing so are based on its claims that November’s general election, which the NLD won by a landslide, was rigged.

Western leaders have been quick to voice their disapproval of the takeover. President Joe Biden suggested reinstating recently suspended sanctions against the country, U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson condemned the “unlawful imprisonment of civilians.” Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described it as “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”

However, QAnon believers, recently purged by a variety of mainstream social media platforms, are applauding Myanmar’s military on Telegram and their own online broadcasts.

Jordan Sather, a QAnon video blogger, dedicated part of his February 1 episode on Rumble to the Myanmar coup. He showed a sequence of photographs of Suu Kyi with Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and George Soros. 

“Honestly, this is probably some foreshadowing, and I think it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing this exact same thing happen elsewhere,” he said of the coup. “Like I said, it’d be nice if this happened in America already, but there are logical reasons why it hasn’t. You have to remember that fake news media here is much more entrenched and influential than in a small country like Myanmar.” 

Another QAnon believer on Gab, a social media site popular with the conspiracist far-right, posted that “The Burmese military can now expose to the world the same people and equipment who fucked with their elections are the same ones who fucked with the ones here. Myanmar military will literally show that Trump was the real winner. This is why the media is panicking over this coup.”

Such comments may seem outlandish, but, according to Amarnath Amarasingam of the School of Religion at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada, there is plenty of precedent for them.

“This is basically what Q supporters have been doing with every major event that happens. They look for numerological clues, they look for ways that the event is tied to Clinton, or Obama, or someone else they think is part of the deep state, and then they try to figure out whether it is part of the ‘plan’ that they are waiting for,” he said. 

After Joe Biden’s January inauguration, some QAnoners have become disillusioned and distanced themselves from the movement. Others, however, have no intention of giving up and are keen to grasp onto current events — no matter how far flung — that appear to justify their beliefs. 

“For those that remain committed to Q, they will continue to find signs in world events, continue to rationalize why their predictions never come to fruition, and carry on the good fight,” said  Amarasingam. “We know that these kinds of apocalyptic and millenarian movements always find a way to keep going.”

Achi Tsitsishvili contributed to reporting.

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