U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expressing alarm about Myanmar’s military detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian leaders.
Myanmar military television said Monday morning the military was taking control of the country for one year and Suu Kyi and others had been detained. The actions came on the day Myanmar’s Parliament was to convene with new members sworn in following November elections.
“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 on November 8,” Blinken said in a statement from Washington. “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.”
Myanmar military television says the military has taken control of the country for one year.
An announcer on military-owned Myawaddy TV made the announcement Monday morning. The announcement follows days of concern about the threat of a military coup and comes as the country’s new Parliament session was to begin.
The Irrawaddy, an established online news service, reported that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi Suu Kyi, the nation’s top leader, and the country’s president, Win Myint, were both detained before dawn Monday. The news service cited Myo Nyunt, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s ruling National League for Democracy party.
Its report said that the party’s Central Executive Committee members, lawmakers and regional Cabinet members had also been taken into custody.
The U.S. and Australia have expressed concerned about a reported coup in Myanmar and urged its military to respect the rule of law.
“The United States is alarmed by reports that the Burmese military has taken steps to undermine the country’s democratic transition, including the arrest of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials in Burma,” White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said in a statement from Washington. Burma is the former name of Myanmar.
“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,” the statement said.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne called for the release of Suu Kyi and others detained. “We strongly support the peaceful reconvening of the National Assembly, consistent with the results of the November 2020 general election,” she said.
Reports says a military coup has taken place in Myanmar and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained under house arrest.
Online news portal Myanmar Now cited unidentified sources about the arrest of Suu Kyi and her party’s chairperson early Monday and did not have further details.
All communications to Naypyitaw appeared to have been cut, and Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party could not be reached.
Myanmar lawmakers were to gather Monday for the first session of Parliament since last year’s election, with tension lingering over recent comments by the military that were widely seen as threatening a coup.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has also condemned the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar.
“The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released,” he tweeted on Monday.