ARMY vehicles and roadblocks could be seen on the streets of Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw on Monday as the military seized power in the country after detaining leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
In a statement broadcasted on a local military-owned television channel, the army proclaimed a state of emergency to preserve the ‘stability’ of the state in response to alleged fraud during the legislative elections in November 2020, which enabled leader Aung San Suu Kyi to be reelected.
“The state of emergency is effective nationwide and the duration of the state of emergency is set for one year, starting from the date this order is announced in line with article 417 of the 2008 constitution,” the statement read out on Myawaddy Television said.
Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing was appointed as interim president. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi urged ‘people not to accept’ and ‘to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military,’ according to a statement released in her name.
The UN condemned the arrests, saying that ‘these developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar.’
The US threatened to ‘take action against those responsible’ for the coup and detentions ‘if these steps are not reversed.’
The move by Myanmar’s military came on the day the new parliament was to convene for the first time following the November elections.
Boris Johnson has condemned a coup in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, that has seen Aung San Suu Kyi detained by the Burmese military who falsely claim a recent General Election in the country was “fraudulent”.
“I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar,” Johnson said on Twitter.
“The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.”
Mr Johnson said the coup was “unlawful” and blasted the imprisonment of Burmese civilians and including the Nobel Peace Prize-winning activist turned politician Aung San Suu Kyi.
San Suu Kyi was famed after bringing democracy to her country with nonviolence during the 1988 Uprisings amid the Burmese Civil War.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab also added his words of condemnation about the state of emergency the Myanmar military had imposed.
New US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken issued a statement expressing “grave concern and alarm” over the reported detentions.
“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.”
“The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development.”
The office of the UN secretary-general was also among those to issue a statement condemning the developments as a “serious blow to democratic reforms”.
“The democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar must be respected, and the National Assembly peacefully re-convened,” he said on Twitter.
Myanmar’s military has announced it will hold a new election at the end of a one-year state of emergency after it seized control and reportedly detained Ms Suu Kyi.
The announcement on military-controlled Myawaddy TV said that because national stability is in jeopardy, all government functions would be transferred to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing under a provision in the 2008 constitution that was issued under military rule.
The announcement said that once the election is held, the military would hand power to the winner.
A presenter on the station said that the reason for the takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election and its failure to postpone the election because of the coronavirus crisis.
The announcement and the declaration of a state of emergency follows days of concern about the threat of a military coup — and military denials that it would stage one — and came on the morning the country’s new Parliament session was to begin.
The takeover is a sharp reversal of the partial yet significant progress toward democracy Myanmar has made in recent years following five decades of military rule and international isolation that began in 1962.
It would also be shocking fall from power for Ms Suu Kyi, who led the democracy struggle despite years under house arrest and and won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.
The military’s actions received swift and widespread international condemnation.