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Myanmar military seizes power, Suu Kyi detained

Last updated on: February 01, 2021 11:24 IST

Myanmar military on Monday declared a state of emergency in the country for one year, hours after detaining civilian leaders including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

IMAGE: Myanmar military vehicles are seen inside City Hall in Yangon, Myanmar. Photograph: Reuters

The state-run Radio and Television announced on its social media page that it was no longer working on Monday morning, Xinhua reported.

Telecommunications in the capital city of Naypyitaw and some other regions and states are also being cut off.

In the early morning raids, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other senior officials have been detained by the military.

Myo Nyunt, spokesperson of the ruling National League for Democracy told Xinhua: "I received internal reports about our state counsellor and the president being taken by the military. As far as I was informed, Shan State's Planning and Finance Minister U Soe Nyunt Lwin, Kayah state's NLD chairman Thaung Htay and some NLD representatives of the Ayeyarwady region's parliament have been detained."

"Two members of Central Executive Committee of the party were taken and I am also waiting to be detained as I was informed by our members that my turn will come shortly," he said.


The detention of the senior leaders comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military, in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.

The NLD claimed victory after an election in November 2020, the country's second democratic ballot since the end of military rule in 2015.

Since her party won a landslide victory in 2015, Suu Kyi, the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been Myanmar's de facto leader and held the position of state counsellor.

But her international reputation has been tarnished in recent years by allegations of genocide against Myanmar's Muslim Rohingya population.

Myanmar denies the charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.

Alarmed over the coup in Myanmar and the detention of the country's top political leaders, the United States has said it is monitoring the situation closely and threatened unspecified action if corrective steps are not taken to restore democracy.

"The United States is alarmed by reports that the Burmese military has taken steps to undermine the country's democratic transition, including the arrest of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials in Burma,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.

Burma is the former name of Myanmar.

"We continue to affirm our strong support for Burma's democratic institutions and, in coordination with our regional partners, urge the military and all other parties to adhere to democratic norms and the rule of law, and to release those detained today,” Psaki said.

President Joe Biden has been briefed by National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, she said.

The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed, she warned.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and stand with the people of Burma, who have already endured so much in their quest for democracy and peace," Psaki said.

The United States expresses grave concern and alarm regarding reports that the Burmese military has detained multiple civilian government leaders, including State Counsellor Suu Kyi, and civil society leaders, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken said.

"We call on Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8. 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," he said in a statement.

The top United Nations leadership has strongly condemned the detention of Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and other political leaders, as UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres voiced concern over transfer of powers to the military, calling it a serious blow to democratic reforms in the country.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the detention of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other political leaders on the eve of the opening session of Myanmar's new Parliament,” a statement issued by Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, said on Sunday.

Guterres expressed his grave concern regarding the declaration of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military and said these developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.

Guterres underscored that the November 8, 2020 general elections provide a strong mandate to the NLD, reflecting the “clear will” of the people of Myanmar to continue on the hard-won path of democratic reform.

The new parliament was scheduled to convene on Monday.

The Secretary-General urged the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar and adhere to democratic norms, with any differences to be resolved through peaceful dialogue.

“All leaders must act in the greater interest of Myanmar's democratic reform, engaging in meaningful dialogue, refraining from violence and fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he said.

Guterres reaffirmed the “unwavering" support of the United Nations to the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights and the rule of law.

President of the UN General Assembly Volkan Bozkir said in a tweet that he is deeply concerned about developments in Myanmar and called for the immediate release of detained political leaders.

"Attempts to undermine #democracy & rule of law are unacceptable. Military leaders must adhere to democratic norms and respect public institutions & civilian authority,” he said.

Last week, Dujarric had said that the UN Secretary-General was following with "great concern” recent developments in Myanmar and Guterres had urged all actors to “desist from any form of incitement or provocation, demonstrate leadership, and to adhere to democratic norms” and respect the outcome of the November general election.

“All electoral disputes should be resolved through established legal mechanisms,” the UN chief had said.

With inputs from PTI

Source: ANI