Myanmar’s Military Seizes Power, Detains Elected Leader Aung San Suu Kyi And Ruling Party Politicians

Myanmar’s Military Seizes Power, Detains Elected Leader Aung San Suu Kyi And Ruling Party Politicians

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Myanmar’s military has on Monday, February 1 seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, detaining her alongside other leaders of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The military seized power less than 10 years after it handed over power to a civilian government.

The army said it had carried out the detentions in response to “election fraud”, handing power to military chief Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year, according to a statement on a military-owned television station, Dawn reports.

It faulted last November’s general election, which Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won by a landslide. It claims to have uncovered more than 10 million instances of voter fraud and has demanded the government-run election commission release voter lists for cross-checking.

However, Myanmar’s election commission has rejected the military’s allegations of vote fraud.

Residents were said to have woken up to a blackout after communication channels were blocked, with access granted to only the Military TV.

Phone lines to the capital Naypyitaw and the main commercial centre of Yangon were not reachable, and state TV went off air hours before parliament had been due to sit for the first time since the NLD’s landslide election win in November.

Soldiers were also seen patrolling streets in Nay Pyi Taw, the capital, and Yangon, the main city.

Soldiers took up positions at city hall in Yangon and mobile internet data and phone services in the NLD stronghold were disrupted, residents said. Internet connectivity also had fallen dramatically, monitoring service NetBlocks said.

Suu Kyi, Myanmar President Win Myint and other NLD leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning, NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding that he expected to be arrested himself. Reuters was subsequently unable to contact him.

The detentions came after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of the election.

Suu Kyi, who was detained alongside President Win Myint, reportedly called on citizens not to accept the military coup.

A statement from NLD quoted her to have said;

The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship.

I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.

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The coup comes after heightened political tension in the country amid the rumor that the military could step in over the disputed election.

Myanmar had been under military control until democratic reforms began in 2011.