Naypyitaw, February 1
Myanmar’s military seized power on Monday in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained along with other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in early morning raids.
Announcing a purge of the government, the military authorities removed 24 ministers and deputies and named 11 replacements in its new administration.
The army said it had carried out the detentions in response to “election fraud”, handing power to military chief General Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year, according to a statement on a military-owned television station.
Suu Kyi’s party said she had called on people to protest against the military takeover, quoting comments it said had been written in anticipation of a coup.
The coup derails years of Western-backed efforts to establish democracy in Myanmar, where neighbouring China has a powerful influence.
The generals made their move hours before parliament had been due to sit for the first time since the NLD’s landslide win in the November 8 election viewed as a referendum on Suu Kyi’s fledgling democratic rule.
Phone and internet connections in the capital, Naypyitaw, and the main commercial centre Yangon were disrupted and state television went off air after the National League for Democracy leaders were detained.
Summarising a meeting of the new junta, the military said Min Aung Hlaing had pledged to practice a “genuine discipline-flourishing multiparty democratic system”. He promised a free and fair election and a handover of power to the winning party, it said, without giving a timeframe.
The United Nations led condemnation of the coup and calls for the release of detainees and restoration of democracy in comments largely echoed by Australia, Britain, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States. — Reuters
anger simmers over military action
The mood in several cities was laced with fear, anger and frustration. Activists said it was a setback to the country.“I feel angry. I don’t want more military rule,” said Zizawah, a 32-year-old who works as a commercial director. Suu Kyi is hugely popular in Myanmar. “They took power by force,” activist Maung Saungkha said. “Everyone is angry and upset,” he added. Reuters
Civilian leaders must be released
The Myanmar developments are a serious blow to democratic reforms. All leaders should refrain from violence and respect human rights. — Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General
The US opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of the recent elections and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed. — Jen Psaki, White House Spokeswoman
I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi. The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released. — Boris Johnson, UK PM
We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation in the country. — Wang Wenbin, China Foreign Ministry spokesman