Myanmar’s Army Stages Coup, Detaining Aung Sang Suu Kyi, Others


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Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained early Monday, her party said, amid fears of a coup.

Aung Shine Oo/AP


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Aung Shine Oo/AP


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Since the election, tensions have increased, with Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing mentioning the possibility of a coup last week, Voice of America reported. The talk led more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., to «urge the military, and all other parties in the country, to adhere to democratic norms.»

On Sunday night, the White House said President Biden had been briefed on the detentions of the country’s civilian leaders.

«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,» read a statement from spokeswoman Jen Psaki.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres «strongly condemns» the detentions, spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said in a statement, and «expresses grave concern regarding the declaration of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military.

«These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar,» continued the statement.

The NLD’s landslide election wins in November came as ethnic minorities were prevented from voting and amid voting safety concerns over the coronavirus.

The country’s military held full control from 1962 until 2011, when it relinquished absolute power and the country began opening up. The NLD first won elections in 2015. But the military still wields considerable influence in Myanmar politics. The military-drafted constitution guarantees it 25% of the seats in parliament, as well as control of three security ministries.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and once a pro-democracy activist, was held captive by the military in jails or under house arrest for nearly two decades.

She remains a beloved figure in Myanmar, but has received intense criticism from abroad in recent years over the country’s persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority. In 2019, Suu Kyi defended Myanmar against genocide charges at the International Court of Justice, standing by the military’s actions. Some 750,000 Rohingya fled the country’s Rakhine state following the army’s bloody crackdown in 2017.

  • Aung San Suu Kyi
  • Myanmar

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