Thursday, May 6, 2021

Myanmar coup: what we know so far, in 500 words | News Aung San Suu Kyi

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A look at the coup against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar’s military ended the country’s short-lived democratic experience by removing democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi and declaring a one-year state of emergency.

Members of the military government justified Monday’s coup by alleging widespread electoral fraud in the November general election won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, the party that in 2015 established the first civilian government in half a century.

The coup drew global condemnation, with the United Nations calling it a blow to democratic reforms in the country.

Al Jazeera takes a look at the coup and what it means for Myanmar.

What happened?

The generals moved hours before parliament sat for the first time since the NLD’s landslide victory in the Nov. 8 election, seen as a referendum on Aung San Suu Kyi’s fledgling democratic regime.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD heavyweights were arrested during early morning raids.

Telephone and Internet connections in the capital, Naypyitaw, and in Yangon’s main shopping center were cut and state television was cut off.

Who is in charge?

An ad read on military-owned Myawaddy TV said the military would take control of the country for a year.

He said the seizure was necessary because the government had failed to act on allegations of military fraud in November polls and because it allowed the elections to go ahead despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The NLD won over 80% of the vote – increasing its support from 2015.

Summarizing a meeting of the new military government, the military said that the military leader, General Min Aung Hlaing, had pledged to practice a “truly flourishing multi-party democratic system of discipline.”

He promised free and fair elections and a transfer of power to the winning party, he said, without giving a deadline.

Later Monday, the military removed 24 ministers and appointed 11 replacements to oversee portfolios such as finance, defense, foreign affairs and the interior.

Aung San Suu Kyi is a hugely popular figure in Myanmar for his opposition to the military, which seized power in a 1962 coup and stamped out dissent for decades. Nobel Peace Prize winner, the 75-year-old spent the best part of two decades under house arrest during the previous military regime – but her international reputation was badly damaged after failing to stop the bloody crackdown and deportation hundreds of thousands of people. Rohingya in 2017.

How has the international community reacted?

The UN led the condemnation of the coup and called for the release of detainees and the restoration of democracy in comments widely echoed by Australia, Britain, the European Union, India, Japan and the United States.

“The military must reverse these actions immediately,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

China, which wields a major influence over neighboring Myanmar, called on all parties to respect the constitution and maintain stability in a statement that “noted” the events in the country rather than expressly condemning them.

Bangladesh, home to around one million Rohingya refugees who have fled violence in Myanmar, called for “peace and stability” and said it hoped a process of repatriating the refugees could move forward. Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh also condemned the takeover.



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