Myanmar’s military staged a coup on Monday, detaining de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and declaring it had taken control of the country for one year under a state of emergency.The intervention came after weeks of rising tensions between the military, which ruled the country for nearly five decades, and the civilian government over allegations of fraud in November’s elections. The Military last week signalled it could seize power to settle its claims of irregularities in the polls, which Ms. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won easily.Ms. Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw before dawn on Monday, NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt told AFP, just hours before Parliament was meant to resume for the first time since the elections.
“We heard they were taken by the military… With the situation we see happening now, we have to assume that the military is staging a coup,” he said.The military then declared, via its own television channel, a one-year state of emergency.In Yangon, the former capital that remains Myanmar’s commercial hub, troops seized the city hall, according to an AFP journalist.
Elsewhere, the Chief Minister of Karen State and several other regional ministers were also held, according to party sources, on the very day when the new Parliament was to hold its first session.The developments triggered a quick response from the United States and Australia, with both calling for the release of detained NLD leaders and the restoration of democracy.
India expresses “deep concern”
India has expressed “deep concern” over detentions and reports of a military coup in Myanmar, and said that the rule of law and democratic process must be “upheld”.
“We have noted the developments in Myanmar with deep concern. 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,” India said in a statement.
In the hours after the arrests, communications networks in Myanmar were restricted, with several mobile phone networks down.
NetBlocks, a non-governmental organisation that tracks internet shutdowns, reported severe disruptions to web connections.Phone numbers in the capital Naypyidaw were also seemingly unreachable.Myanmar’s polls in November were only the second democratic elections the country had seen since it emerged from the 49-year grip of military rule in 2011.