Myanmar military seizes power

Myanmar military seizes power

A Biden statement condemned the military's takeover from the civilian-led government on Monday and its detention of elected leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as "a direct assault on the country's transition to democracy and the rule of law". "These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms in Myanmar".

Myanmar's military announced Monday that it has seized power and will rule the country for at least one year after detaining its top political leaders.

The NLD's massive victory at November's election, and the increasing loss of support for the army-backed USDP, seems to have dramatically sharpened the civilian-military divide, and convinced the army leadership that the Constitution no longer offered sufficient protection against political challenge. (These include, according to one report, the Karen reggae singer Saw Poe Kwah.) Party officials and activists were also detained in other parts of Myanmar as lines of communication such as radio and the internet were cut. The country's election commission said there was no evidence of fraud.

People hold up images of Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a protest outside Myanmar's embassy in Bangkok.

The military has also sought to control the flow of information in the country.

In Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States "stands with the people" of Myanmar "in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development", and called on the military to immediately reverse its actions. The military maintains its actions are legally justified - citing a section of the constitution it drafted that allows it to take control in times of national emergency.

The Minister for Asia made clear the democratic wishes of the people of Myanmar must be respected, and the National Assembly peacefully re-convened.

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Police in Thailand's capital clashed with a group of demonstrators who came out to stage a protest against the coup in Myanmar.

Australia has already imposed sanctions and travel bans on five Myanmar generals accused of leading a vicious crackdown on the country's Rohingya minority in 2017. The U.S. White House had issued a statement within hours of the incident saying it "opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition".

Though Suu Kyi's reputation overseas has been tarnished by the massacre and displacement of Myanmar's ethnic Rohingya, she remains deeply popular in the country of 54 million.

Ms Muang said the program should be immediately suspended now the military had illegally seized power.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been a U.S. democracy promotion project for decades, though there have been recent and serious concerns about its backsliding into authoritarianism.

Menendez charged that the Myanmar army was guilty of "genocide" against minority Rohingya Muslims - a determination yet to be stated by the US government - and of a sustained campaign of violence against other minorities. The government sent an e-mail to Japanese citizens in Myanmar to avoid unnecessarily travel, but did not make any statements explicitly criticizing the Myanmar military over the apparent coup. But with the coup, Beijing may well end up with still more sway over the country's economy.

A USA senator raised the possibility the United States could again impose economic sanctions, which the US lifted when Myanmar was transitioning to civilian rule.

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