US Warns It “Will Take Action” As Myanmar Military Coup Declares 1-Year State Of Emergency
In what looks to be the first foreign policy and international crisis of the Biden administration, recently confirmed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Myanmar’s military leaders to “reverse these actions immediately” after arresting the country’s civilian leadership in a coup on Monday.
“We call on Burmese [the US still officially calls it Burma] military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders and respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8,” Blinken said according to Reuters.
As we detailed earlier Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s governing National League for Democracy (NLD) and President Win Myint and other civilian leaders were “taken” during military raids on their homes in the early hours of Monday (local time). State TV broadcasts were cut, along with the internet to the capital.
A military channel then announced in an emergency broadcast that the army under commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing will retain control of the country for at least a year using ‘state of emergency’ powers.
“The NLD won enough seats in parliament to form a government in November, but the army says the vote was fraudulent,” BBC reported. “The army has called on the government to postpone convening parliament, which was due to take place on Monday.”
Here’s the army’s announcement as it was broadcast to a stunned population:
— Ruptly (@Ruptly) February 1, 2021
The military coup happened just hours ahead of the new parliament that was set to meet after a Suu Kyi’s landslide victory in November, but which the army has called “fraudulent”.
While the nation’s Election Commission rejected the army’s assessment, the military said it acted as “widespread fraud” constitutes a “national emergency” and the constitution authorizes the army to take control in such an instance.
A statement from Kyi’s National League for Democracy urged the population to protest the coup in a statement:
“The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship,” the statement read. “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.”
Meanwhile the State Department spokesman also condemned the coup:
We call on the Burmese military leaders to cease their actions and release all government officials and civil society leaders. The democratically elected civilian government reflects the will of the people. https://t.co/CkOKYDsbyN
— Ned Price (@statedeptspox) February 1, 2021
A White House statement said that President Biden has been briefed on the situation and is closely monitoring. “The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed,” a White House statement said.
Multiple Western embassies and consulates in the country have also condemned the coup and say they are watching the situation closely, also amid reports of soldiers patrolling major city streets, particularly in the capital of Naypyitaw.
Mon, 02/01/2021 – 09:21