Myanmar’s military has detained the country’s civilian leader and other senior officials as part of a coup that has returned power to the hands of the armed forces after a brief democratic run.
On Monday, Myanmar’s citizens experienced communications blackouts as its military declared a year-long state of emergency via the only TV channel still accessible to the public – the military-run Myawaddi TV.
The military announced that it had arrested Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader, and other senior government officials of the ruling party, the National League for Democracy (NLD).
Subsequently, power has been seized by military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The coup follows a period of internal tensions that have been rising since the country’s November 2020 elections, in which the NLD won more than 80% of available seats.
The military had threatened to “take action” in response to alleged election fraud, which has been denied by the election commission.
The coup has caused outrage on the international scene, with world leaders calling on the military to reverse the action, release the civilian leaders, and respect the outcome of the elections.
On her part, Suu Kyi urged her supporters to protest against the coup and “not to accept this.”
Myanmar had been ruled by the military for nearly 5 decades until democratic reforms led by Suu Kyi put an end to the military rule in 2011.
This is the third coup that Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has seen since it gained its independence in 1948 – the first two having taken place in 1962 and 1988.
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