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Myanmar military stages coup, declares emergency for one year

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Myanmar

Myanmar’s military has taken control of the country after detaining de-facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians in the early hours, on Monday, 1 February.

Military TV said a state of emergency had been declared for one year and power transferred.

The coup comes after tensions rose between the civilian government and the military following a disputed election.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the military until democratic reforms began in 2011.

The military said on Monday it was handing power to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing because of ‘election fraud’. Soldiers are on the streets of the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, and the main city, Yangon.

Myanmar’s Parliament, where the military is given a quarter of seats and wields more power through its proxy union solidarity and development party (USDP), was due to open in the country’s capital from Monday.

Politicians from states and regions, as well as prominent political activists, were also detained, while mobile and phone networks were seeing disruption, the state media was also taken off-air.

Monday’s developments have drawn immediate condemnation.

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres said the developments were a serious blow to democratic reforms and urged all leaders to refrain from violence and respect human rights.

The United States also condemned the coup, saying Washington opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition.

“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, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said in a statement.

Australia said it was ‘deeply concerned’ at the situation, as did India.

“India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar, we believe that the rule of law and the democratic process must be upheld. We are monitoring the situation closely, a statement from the foreign ministry said.

Singapore’s foreign ministry expressed ‘grave concern’ at events and urged all parties to exercise restraint and work towards a positive and peaceful outcome. Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines all shied away from criticism saying the military takeover was Myanmar’s internal affair.

 

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