Noise from the nearby pagoda roused Aung and his family before dawn on April 9. Peering out his window, he saw dozens of soldiers shouting and cursing as they streamed onto trucks, rifles slung across their chests. It was barely 4 a.m.
The engines of dozens of vehicles revved to a start and took off, with soldiers following on foot. Suddenly, Aung’s power cut out, plunging his neighborhood in the city of Bago into darkness. Aung tried to check Facebook and WhatsApp, hoping others would know what was going on, but mobile Internet was down, too.
He hurried his wife and two young sons into a small bedroom where they huddled together, determined not to be seen or heard. The sound of gunshots pierced the silence. The family emerged briefly some 14 hours later, peeking out their windows when they heard the rowdy chatter and din of the engines return.