Myanmar’s military seized power in a military coup early on Monday morning, detaining democratically elected civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi alongside other members of her party, National League for Democracy (NLD). The Myanmar army claims to have carried out the action in response to “election fraud.”
A state of emergency has been instated in Myanmar for a period of one year, according to a military-owned television channel, while power has been handed over to military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The coup occured hours prior to the parliament’s first session since NLD’s November 8 election. Suu Kyi, Myanmar President Win Myint, and other NLD leaders were detained in the early hours of the morning.
During the coup, telephone lines to the capital Naypyitaw, and the main commercial centre in Yangon became unreachable, while state television also went off air.
The detentions of the political leaders followed growing tensions between the civilian and military leadership of the country after the elections. The NLD party won 83% of the vote in what was the second election since the military establishment agreed to share power in 2011.
The coup has been condemned by world leaders and governments, with the United States (US) Sectretary of State Antony Blinken calling for the release of Myanmar’s civilian leaders.
“The United States stands with the people of Burma [Myanmar] in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately,” he said in a statement.
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the detention of Suu Kyi and other political leaders and urged “the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar,” according to a UN spokesperson.