Aung San Suu Kyi, the de-facto leader of Myanmar, has been arrested along with the country’s president
Arrests were carried out by the military early Monday as generals staged a coup against the government
Comes after Suu Kyi’s party won last year’s election by a landslide, leading to fears among military leaders that she would try to reform the constitution to remove their grip on power
Military leaders struck just hours before the new government was sworn in to office, alleging voter fraud
U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken condemned the reports in a statement released overnight
America has vowed to ‘take action’ if Myanmar military coup is not reversed after soldiers arrested de facto leader Aung San Suu Ky, the president and members of parliament in dawn raids on Monday.
US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken condemned the reports in a statement released overnight, and called for the military to ‘reverse these actions immediately’.
The generals struck amid fears that Suu Kyi would use her new mandate – which saw her humiliate military-backed parties at a vote held last year – to reform the constitution and remove their strangle-hold on power.
Military leaders, who claim the vote was fraudulent, have now declared a year-long state of emergency, appointed Vice President Myint Swe – a former general – as acting president, and closed all banks until further notice.
‘The United States expresses grave concern and alarm regarding reports that the Burmese military has detained multiple civilian government leaders, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and civil society leaders,’ the statement 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.’
All government functions have been transferred to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to ‘guarantee national stability’ until fresh elections can be held, the military said via its own TV channel after state TV went off air, while promising the vote would take place within a year.
The NLD released a statement they said had been written by Suu Kyi before her arrest, which called for people ‘to protest against the coup’ while warning that generals want to ‘put the country back under a dictatorship’.
Along with the US, the UK, Japan and Australia were among those condemning the coup early Monday, with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying: ‘The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.’
China – which has been a long-term supporter of the military – urged all sides to ‘resolve their differences… to protect political and social stability’.