(Yangon) The powerful Burmese army revolted on Monday, arresting Aung San Suu Kyi, the original civilian government chief, and appointing a general as interim president, declaring a state of emergency for a year.
The military said in a statement on its television channel NAME that the move was necessary to maintain the “stability” of the state.
They allege that the Election Commission did not address the “enormous manipulations” that, according to them, Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (LND), won a landslide victory in the November legislative elections. Power since the 2015 election.
The army captured the country’s financial capital, Yangon Town Hall, according to an AFP journalist.
A few hours earlier, Aung San Suu Kyi and Republican President Win Mint had been arrested.
“We heard they were captured in the national capital, Naypyidaw,” NLD spokesman Myo Nunt told AFP.
He said several other officers were also arrested.
The United States and Australia responded quickly, calling for the immediate release of the NLD leadership and the restoration of democracy.
“The United States opposes any attempt to change the results of the recent election […] And take action against those responsible, “said White House spokeswoman Jen Saki, in a statement.
“We call on the military to respect the rule of law, resolve disputes through the legal system and immediately release illegally detained civilian leaders and other individuals,” said Australian Foreign Minister Maurice.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has strongly condemned the arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi.
“With the announcement of the transfer of all legislative, executive and judicial powers to the military,” he said, “these developments are a major blow to democratic reforms in Burma.”
The uprising comes as parliament is set to begin its first session on Monday as a result of the last legislative elections.
Myanmar emerged just 10 years ago from military rule that had been in power for almost half a century. The last two uprisings since the country gained independence in 1948 were in 1962 and 1988.
Special NGO Netblocks has found that internet access and telecommunications in the country have been severely damaged. Access to Yangon International Airport has been blocked, the AFP noted.
Cheating by “millions”
The military has for weeks condemned more than ten million fraudulent cases in the November legislative elections.
They demanded that the government-led Election Commission publish the list of voters for verification – which the commission failed to do.
Fears were further heightened when Army Chief General Min Aung Hailing – the most powerful man in the country – said he could “withdraw” the constitution under certain circumstances.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and several embassies have expressed “great concern”.
The Aung San Suu Kyi Party (millions of whom fled the military abuses in 2017 and took refuge in neighboring Bangladesh), which has been widely criticized internationally for handling the Rohingya Muslim crisis, is still admired by most of the population and won a solid victory in November.
This is the second general election since the junta was dissolved in 2011.
In 2015, the NLD won a large majority. But she had to share delicate power with the military, which controls three key ministries (Interior, Defense and Borders).
“The relationship between the government and the military is complicated,” Herve Lemahou, a specialist at the Lowe’s Institute in Australia, told AFP. “This hybrid regime, not entirely authoritarian or fully democratic, has collapsed under the weight of its own contradictions.”
Aung San Suu Kyi, a longtime exile in England, now 75, returned to Burma in 1988 to oppose military dictatorship.
She spent 20 years under house arrest before being released by the military in 2010.