Myanmar coup: Aung San Suu Kyi detained as military seizes control

Myanmar’s military has seized power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other democratically elected leaders.

Troops are patrolling streets in major cities and communications are limited. The top army commander is now in charge and a one-year state of emergency has been declared, army TV announced.

The move follows a landslide win by Ms Suu Kyi’s party in an election the army claims was marred by fraud.

She urged her supporters to “not accept this” and “protest against the coup”.

In a letter written in preparation for her impending detention, she said the military’s actions would put the country back under a dictatorship.

The military has already announced replacements for a number of ministers.

On the streets of the main city, Yangon, people said they felt their hard-fought battle for democracy had been lost.

One 25-year-old resident, who asked not to be named, told the BBC: “Waking up to learn your world has been completely turned upside down overnight was not a new feeling, but a feeling that I thought that we had moved on from, and one that I never thought we’d be forced to feel again.”

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces until 2011, when democratic reforms led by Aung San Suu Kyi ended military rule.

Aung San Suu Kyi at a coronavirus vaccination clinic in January, Naypyitaw, MyanmarIMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
image caption: Aung San Suu Kyi, seen here at a coronavirus vaccination clinic in January, is Myanmar’s de facto leader

She spent nearly 15 years in detention between 1989 and 2010. She was internationally hailed as a beacon of democracy and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.

But her international reputation suffered severely following an army crackdown on the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority. Former supporters accused her of refusing to condemn the military or acknowledge accounts of atrocities.

How did the coup unfold?

In the early hours of Monday, the army’s TV station said power had been handed over to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Ms Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders of the National League for Democracy (NLD) were arrested in a series of raids. It is not clear where they are being held.

No major violence has been reported. Soldiers blocked roads in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, and the main city, Yangon. International and domestic TV channels, including the state broadcaster, went off air.

Internet and phone services have been disrupted. Banks said they had been forced to close.

Later, the military announced that 24 ministers and deputies had been removed, and 11 replacements had been named, including in finance, health, the interior and foreign affairs.

Myanmar people line up in front of a ATM machine of a closed bank in Yangon, Myanmar, 01 February 2021IMAGE COPYRIGHTEPA
image caption: Queues formed at ATM machines in Yangon and other cities

The military takeover follows weeks of tensions between the armed forces and the government following parliamentary elections lost by the army-backed opposition.

The military’s allegations of fraud were not backed by the electoral commission.

Source: BBC

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *