Myanmar military seized control on Monday following a coup against the democratically elected government of of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early morning raids, according to Reuters.
The detentions were carried out in response to “election fraud” while handing power to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year, according to a statement of a military-owned television station.
Myo Nyunt, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy (NLD) said earlier on Monday, that Aung San Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the day. The generals made their move hours before the parliament had been due to sit for the first time since a landslide victory of the governing NLD party in the November 8 election.
Phone lines and internet connections in the capital, Naypyitaw, and the main commercial centre of Yangon were disrupted while the state television went off air before parliament after the NLD leaders were detained by the Myanmar military.
Chaos ensued with troops and riot police standing by as residents rushed to the markets to stock up on supplies and lined up at ATMs to withdraw cash. However, banks soon suspended service due to poor internet connections in the capital.
“The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship,” the NLD said in a statement uploaded on Facebook which was pre-written by elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi earlier in anticipation of the military coup. “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.” the statement continued.
Condemnation of the coup came from Australia, Britain, the European Union, India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the United States while China called on all sides to respect the constitution and uphold stability.
The White House said that president Joe Biden was informed of the situation and the US embassy in Yangon issued an alert warning for its citizens there for a “potential for civil and political unrest.”
“The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson condemned the coup and the imprisonment of Aung San Suu Kyi and others. “The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” he said on Twitter.
I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar. The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) February 1, 2021
Commenting on Myanmar’s coup, Pakistan Foreign Ministry said it hoped the two parties will “engage constructively”.
“We hope that all parties involved will exercise restraint, uphold the rule of law, engage constructively, and work towards a peaceful outcome,” read a statement from Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Myanmar military says will return power after free, fair election
Myanmar’s military said a free and fair election would be held and it would hand power to the winning party.
Commander-in-chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing had pledged to practice “the genuine discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system” in a fair manner, the military said in an article on one of its official website summarising a meeting of the new junta.
It gave no timeframe for elections, but earlier said its state of emergency would last one year.