Politicians and world leaders have condemned the Myanmar military’s move to seize control of the country for one year.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the coup “unlawful imprisonment” of civilians and civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was reportedly detained alongside other senior politicians.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed “grave concern” and urged the military to “reverse” their actions immediately.
Similarly, The European Commission president and the EU’s top diplomat condemned the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar and demanded the immediate release of all those it had detained in raids across the country.
The European Union is Myanmar’s third-biggest trading partner and has given the country special trade preferences, which could potentially be removed, although such a process would likely not be immediate.
“I strongly condemn the coup in Myanmar,” Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter, and called for the “immediate and unconditional release” of all those detained. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell released a statement also condemning the coup, saying “democracy must prevail.”
“The legitimate civilian government must be restored, in line with the country’s constitution & the November elections,” von der Leyen said, referring to Monday’s coup.
Meanwhile, the Japanese government called on Myanmar to release leaders arrested after the military seized power, adding that it had long supported democracy in the nation and demanded it be promptly restored.
China, meanwhile, said it had “noted” the military coup and hoped that all sides could properly manage their differences under the constitution and uphold stability.
“We have noted what has happened in Myanmar and are in the process of further understanding the situation,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a daily news briefing in Beijing.
“China is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar’s. We hope that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability,” he added.
The coup follows a landslide election win by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy last November.
An announcement on military-owned Myawaddy TV said the reason for takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud during the election and its failure to postpone the vote because of the coronavirus crisis.
The takeover is a sharp reversal of the partial yet significant progress toward democracy Myanmar made in recent years following five decades of military rule and international isolation that began in 1962.
It would also be shocking fall from power for Suu Kyi, who led the democracy struggle despite years under house arrest and and won a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts.