Coup in Myanmar Rocks Southeast Asia

The military seized power in Myanmar’ (Burma) today in a coup against the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) party government.

The coup happened just hours before the Myanmar parliament were due to sit for the first time since the 8th November election which saw a landslide victory for the NLD party. The first order of action for the parliament would have been to enshrine the new government into power.

The army said that it had imposed a state of emergency for a period of one year and made a number of detentions due to “election fraud”. They said that the move was needed to preserve the “stability” of the state.

Phone and internet connections in the capital Naypyitaw and the main commercial centre and former capital Yangon were disrupted and state television went off air after the NLD leaders were detained. Queues have been reported at many ATM’s and some markets. Banks have been forced to suspend services due to issues with internet connectivity.

Coup Condemned Around the World

The United Nations joined governments and organisations from all around the world in raising concerns and objections to the coup.

“The Secretary-General strongly condemns the detention of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and other political leaders on the eve of the opening session of Myanmar’s new Parliament.”

Stephane Dujarric, United Nations spokesperson

Indonesia has called for their fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member state to follow the democratic principles defined in the bloc’s charter.

“Indonesia calls for the observance of the principles of Asean Charter, among other things, adherence to the rule of law, good governance, the principles of democracy and constitutional government.”

Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry

Brunei are the current chair of ASEAN has said that it is consulting other member states regarding the developments in Myanmar.

“Brunei Darussalam as Chair of ASEAN is consulting other ASEAN Member States on their support for an ASEAN statement.”

Brunei Foreign Ministry via CNA

Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand however have all, so far, called the coup an “internal matter” or said that they do not get involved in “internal affairs.”

The US government has condemned the coup with Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, stating that the US expressed “grave concern and alarm” over the first reports of the detention of government officials and civil society leaders. 

“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.”

“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.”

Antony Blinken, US Secretary of State

Other governments and organisations around the world have joined in the criticism of the coup including Australia, the European Union, the United Kingdom and Amnesty International.

Protests in Thailand

In Bangkok a large number of Thai activists joined protesters from Myanmar outside the Myanmar embassy on Sathon Road, condemning the coup and demanding the Thai government to do likewise.

“Thailand must not endorse and legitimise this coup — as well as coup government.”

“We affirm that as a member of Asean, we cannot stay silent after such an evil and unlawful act.”

We Volunteer (WeVo) statement (Thai pro-democracy group) via Bangkok POst

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