BREAKING | Myanmar launches coup
Defence Redefined
Published on 01/02/2021 at 07:46

According to international media sources, the Myanmar army launched a coup against Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior members of the ruling party after several days of rising tensions over the recent election results.

Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s 75-year-old state counsellor, President Win Myint and other members of the ruling National League for Democracy party were arrested at their residences in the capital Naypyidaw early Monday.

Later in the morning, Myanmar’s military said it had taken control of the country and declared a state of emergency for a year, handing over power to General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief.

Residents of the commercial capital Yangon and other cities said that service for all four of the country’s telecoms companies had been cut off, some internet service providers were down and terrestrial television services were limited to the army’s Myawaddy TV channel.

The White House says President Joe Biden has been briefed on the coup by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. In a statement, the White House said the United States “opposes 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.”

The takeover of the army came just hours before Myanmar’s newly elected parliament was due to meet for the first time since the November 8 election, the results of which the army contested.

According to the Financial Times last week, the Myanmar army and General Min Aung Hlaing suggested they were ready to launch a coup following complaints of alleged irregularities in the November election.

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On Friday, the UN and the embassies of several European countries and the United States issued statements saying they opposed any attempt by the Myanmar army to overturn the election result.

The coup was a blow to democratic hopes in a military-ruled country from 1962 to 2011, when Myanmar began its transition to democracy under a constitution that reserved three major ministries and 25% of parliament for army appointees. The NLD took power in 2016 under a civilian government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi.

Thant Myint-U, historian and author of several books on Myanmar, said Monday’s events opened the door to “an incredibly uncertain future.”

“Myanmar is a country awash in weapons, with millions in desperate poverty and deep ethnic and religious divisions,” he said. “The possibility of far more bloodshed than we have seen in recent years is not unimaginable.”

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, “strongly condemned” the coup and the detention of Aung San Suu Kyi, while Australia also condemned the army’s actions . 

With information from: Financial Times

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