ECONOMYNEXT – In an apparent coup d’état, Myanmar’s military has handed over power to army chief Min Aung Hlaing, hours after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, international media reported.
Following her detention, the military declared a state of emergency for one year, according to the BBC.
Reuters reported that in an address on military-owned television Myawaddy TV, the military said it had detained key political leaders in response to election fraud.
According to The Guardian, Myanmar’s army has alleged widespread irregularities in November’s election, which Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won in a landslide victory. It said last week that a coup could not be ruled out, prompting the United Nations and several foreign missions in the country to express alarm.
The military later backtracked, reported The Guardian, claiming comments by its commander-in-chief had been misunderstood. Over the weekend, however, armed police patrolled the housing where lawmakers were quarantining ahead of the opening of parliament this week.
Meanwhile, according to CNN, there is “widespread internet and telecommunication disruption in Myanmar”, making it difficult to confirm reports coming in from the South Asian nation. CNN reported that several days of worsening political tensions and rising fears of a military coup had preceded this morning’s events which came hours before a new session of parliament was scheduled to begin.
“State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some other senior figures are being detained in (the capital city of) Naypyidaw. The military seems to take control of the capital now,” CNN quoted National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson Myo Nyunt as saying.
Other reports said that military trucks, one carrying barbed wire barriers, were parked outside City Hall in Yangon this morning, while phone and mobile internet to the city, and to capital Naypyitaw, were lost.
The incident has drawn international criticism. The US has expressed “grave concern and alarm”.
“The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres said the developments represented “a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.” (Colombo/Feb01/2021)