State of Emergency declared in Myanmar
After the persisting tensions between the Myanmar army and the civilian government which reached an all time high last November over allegations of fraud in elections, the military has staged a coup 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 military had signalled last week that it could seize power to settle its claims of irregularities in the polls, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a considerable margin.
Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw before dawn on Monday, NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt told the media agency AFP, just hours before parliament was meant to resume for the first time since the elections.
The military, through its own television channel, declared the state of emergency for the upcoming year.
AFP journalists have reported that in Yangon, the former capital that remains Myanmar's commercial hub, the troops seized the city hall.
Myanmar has been ruled by the military until democratic reforms began in the year 2011. The military stated that commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing would be handed the power on the basis of "corrupt practices" during elections last year. The military has alleged that the general elections held in November 2020 were full of “irregularities” and that therefore, the results - a clear win for the NLD are not valid. It has questioned the authenticity of some 9 million votes cast in the election.
The military had demanded that the United Elections Commission (UEC) of Myanmar which oversees elections, or the government, or outgoing parliamentarians prove at a special session before the new parliament which begins on February , 2021, that the elections were free and fair. The demand had been rejected.
The United States has condemned the coup, stating Washington "opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition".
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the release of all government officials and civil society leaders and said the US "stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately".
India too has expressed its concerns. The external affairs ministry said in an official statement that it is monitoring the situation closely after that Myanmar’s military had seized power in a coup against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
It is noteworthy that while backing democratic forces in Myanmar, India has also retained close contacts with the military leadership because of security concerns related to its northeastern states. A number of militant groups from the northeast have had bases in Myanmar over the past and the Indian Army has collaborated with its
Myanmar counterpart to put pressure on them and conduct joint operations as well as the most well known surgical strikes conducted few years back.
India also needs Myanmar as an ally to counter the growing Chinese threat in the region. This is primarily the reason why India never chose to criticize the country over handling of the Rohingya crisis.
Several users on social media platforms have also expressed their concerns over the situation in the country:
The Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres has also issued a statement in this regard: “all actors to desist from any form of incitement or provocation, demonstrate leadership, and to adhere to democratic norms and respecting the outcome of the 8 November general election.” The Secretary General has also confirmed support for the democratic government of Mynamar stating that "in their pursuit of peace, inclusive sustainable development, humanitarian action, human rights and rule of law.”
Aung San Suu Kyi rose to prominence in the 1988 Uprisings, and became the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD), which she had newly formed with the help of several retired army officials who criticized the erstwhile military junta. In the 1990 elections, NLD won around 81% of the seats in Parliament, but the results were nullified, as the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international condemnation. She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest for almost 15 of the 21 years from 1989 to 2010, becoming one of the world's most prominent political prisoners. In 1999, Time Magazine named her one of the "Children of Gandhi" and his spiritual heir to the principle of non-violence.
Recipient of several awards, Aung San Suu Kyi was stripped of her "Freedom of Edinburgh" award over her refusal to speak out against the crimes committed against the Rohingya. As of now, further tensions await the leader. With reports of possible suspensions of the internet services in the upcoming days, situation looks grim for Myanmar.
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