During the early hours of Monday morning, Myanmar’s army seized power in an apparent coup, having previously threatened to “take action” over alleged fraud in the November elections held in the country.
The army arrested and detained Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi along with other figures from the leading party. She has responded by calling on the public to protest against the military coup.
She said that the military was trying to reimpose the dictatorship, while a statement released in her name said: “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.”
Spokesman Myo Nyunt revealed to Reuters that Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other leaders had been “taken” by the military. “I want to tell our people not to respond rashly, and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.
On Monday, military television announced that the army had seized control of the country for a year, handing the reins of power to commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing. The army also revealed that it had declared a state of emergency and detained senior government leaders in response to “fraud” during last year’s general election.
The actions of the Myanmar army brought swift censure from leaders and human rights experts around the world.
US President Joe Biden’s press secretary, Jen Psaki, said the US opposed, “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.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and other detainees. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the developments represented, “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.”
Author and historian Thant Myint-U wrote on Twitter: “The doors just opened to a very different future.