Myanmar’s military stages coup d’etat
In a series of morning raids, the military arrests senior government members and declares a state of emergency. Myanmar’s military has seized power and declared a state of emergency for one year following days of escalating tension over the result of November’s parliamentary elections.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader, President Win Myint and other senior members of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been detained in the capital, Naypyidaw, on Monday.
A video broadcast on military-owned television said power was handed to Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, citing “huge irregularities” in November’s vote.
The power grab came as Parliament – in which the military is given 25 percent of the seats – was set to open in Myanmar.
France, Germany voice their concern
France joined the list of countries calling for the immediate release of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and for the Myanmar military to respect the results of the November 8 election.
“This arrest, as well as the transfer of legislative, executive and judicial power to the army is an unacceptable threat to the democratic process that was started about 10 years ago,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said in a statement.
Such sentiments were echoed by German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass.
“The EU has been very adamant over the past months that it is important that Myanmar continues to go down what the EU calls a democratic path,” said Al Jazeera’s Natacha Butler reporting from France’s capital Paris.
“They were supporters of the elections at the end of last year, so there is a lots of concern here in the EU,” she added.
“It feels sort of like business as usual when you go around most of the streets,” said Al Jazeera’s Ali Fowle reporting from Yangon, adding that there was an increased police presence in specific areas.
“The banks have been closed, so there is a little bit of nervousness around that,” she said, pointing to the fact that people in Myanmar largely rely on cash. The Myanmar Bankers Association announced earlier the temporary closure of all financial services across the country due to poor internet connection.
Questions loom now over how people are going to react.
“We know that is going to be a very unpopular move [the military coup], but to say that this will be translated into a popular movement is yet to be determined,” Fowle said, adding that various influential public figures, from activists to artists, who could rally enough support have already been arrested.
Meanwhile, pro-military protesters have been roaming around the city, Fowle said, with some attacking journalists.
‘Nothing short of outrageous’: UN official
A United Nations’ official assigned to Myanmar has condemned the coup and urged an unequivocal response from world leaders.
“The constitution that the Generals wrote and that they pledged just 48 hours ago to fully abide by has now been overturned,” Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, told Al Jazeera.
“This is nothing short of outrageous, deeply disturbing and I think what is important is for the international community, first and foremost, to speak out very clearly and very unequivocally that this is unacceptable,” he said.
Thai police clash with protesters
Reuters witnesses said that police in Thailand clashed with a group of demonstrators who took to the street against Myanmar military’s power grab.