Myanmar’s military regained control of the country after detaining the de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi over claims of voter fraud.
A report by Agence France-Presse quoting the leader of Suu Kyi’s party National League for Democracy (NLD) on Monday said that Suu Kyi had been detained in the capital Naypyidaw along with President Win Myint.
This happened while the army’s television station announced that power had been handed over to commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing.
“We heard they were taken by the military,” the leader was quoted as saying, referring to Suu Kyi, adding that he was worried about the two.
“With the situation we see happening now, we have to assume that the military is staging a coup,” he said.
The NLD leader said that the circumstances of the country’s newly elected members of the parliament who were expected to assume office on Monday were unclear.
The detainment followed a landslide win by Suu Kyi’s party in an election that the army claimed was marred with fraud.
Following the detention, Suu Kyi urged her supporters to “not accept this” and “protest against the coup.”
Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces until 2011 when democratic reforms spearheaded by Suu Kyi ended military rule.
The detained leader spent nearly 15 years in detention—between 1989 and 2010. She was recognized as a beacon of democracy and received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
In Myanmar, communications appeared to be disrupted, with phone numbers in the capital said to be unreachable. International and domestic television channels went off air while banks were said to have been forced to close.
Meanwhile, no violence was reported as soldiers blocked roads in Nay Pyi Taw and its main city, Yangon.
Aung Hlaing, arguably one of the most influential people in Myanmar, announced that the country’s 2008 constitution could be revoked under certain circumstances.
The released statements of the commander-in-chief’s statements sparked fears within Myanmar as well as from more than a dozen foreign missions and the United Nations.
Photo by Phyo Wai Than from Flickr