Myanmar military takes control of country in coup after arresting Aung San Suu Kyi

A coup against the democratically elected government.

Julia Yeo | February 01, 2021, 10:57 AM

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 75, has been arrested, according to a spokesperson from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Aung San Suu Kyi detained

The news of Suu Kyi's detainment came after rising tensions between the civilian government and the country's military, stoking fears of a coup, reported the BBC.

The NLD had won enough seats to form a government during the country's election in November 2020, but the army has claimed that the vote was fraudulent.

Myanmar had been under military rule until 2011, while Suu Kyi, who is Myanmar's first State Counsellor, had spent several years under house arrest until her release in 2010.

Suu Kyi came to power after a 2015 landslide election win by her party.

"Taken" with other party leaders

Soldiers were seen on the streets of the capital, Naypyitaw, and the main city, Yangon, the BBC reported.

A spokesperson from the NLD party, which Suu Kyi is leader of, told Reuters by phone that she had been "taken" in the early hours of the morning along with Myanmar President Win Myint and other leaders.

"I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law," the spokesperson said, adding that he also expected to be detained.

Reuters was subsequently unable to contact the spokesperson.

Soldiers also visited the homes of chief ministers in several regions and took them away, their family members said.

According to BBC's Southeast Asia correspondent Jonathan Head, the situation appears to be a full-scale coup against the democratically elected government.

Mobile internet data connections and some phone services have been disrupted in major cities in Myanmar, while the state broadcaster MRTV says it is facing technical issues and is off air.

Vice President to be acting president

Military-owned TV channel Myawaddy TV later announced that the military has taken hold of the country, and declared a state of emergency for a year.

The military-backed Vice President, U Myint Swe, is now the acting president.

It was also announced that state power had been handed over to Commander-in-Chief of Defense Services Min Aung Hlaing, Reuters reported.

Who is Aung San Suu Kyi?

Suu Kyi rose to become an international icon and symbol of democracy after decades of struggling for Myanmar's democracy under house arrest.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner later saw her international standing sour after she defended claims of genocide by the country against the Rohingya, a minority ethnic group in Myanmar, many of whom are denied citizenship, free movement, and access to healthcare and education.

However, Suu Kyi remains hugely popular at home.

Totally unrelated but follow and listen to our podcast here

Top image via Getty