Myanmar’s de facto leader and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has asked people to protest against the coup staged by the military on Monday, hours after it detained her and other senior members of her ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

The military seized control of the South Asian nation following escalated tensions between the government and the army that erupted due to the outcome of the November 2020 parliamentary polls, the first to be held since the end of the Army’s rule in 2011.

In a statement issued under Suu Kyi’s name, she said: “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.”

She added that Monday’s development has put the country back under dictatorship, the BBC reported.

According to a declaration signed by First Vice President U Myint Swe, who is currently serving as the Acting President, and issued following the coup on Monday morning, the state power will be handed over to Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Min Aung Hlaing because of “election fraud”.

According to the declaration, which was first announced on the military-owned Myawady TV, a state of emergency has also been declared for a period of one year.

The legislative functions of all Parliaments and leading bodies will be suspended from the day of the declaration, it added.

In a televised statement following the declaration, the military said that it will again hold the multi-party general elections after the emergency period expires.

The Union Election Commission will be reformed and the electoral process in the parliamentary elections held on November 8, 2020, will be reviewed in accordance with the laws.

Meanwhile, regarding the detentions, Myo Nyunt, spokesperson of the NLD, told Xinhua: “I received internal reports about our State Counsellor and President (U Win Myint) being taken by the military. As far as I was informed, Shan State’s Planning and Finance Minister U Soe Nyunt Lwin, Kayah state’s NLD chairman Thaung Htay and some NLD representatives of the Ayeyarwady region’s Parliament have been detained.”

He added that two other members of the Central Executive Committee of the party were also taken and was awaiting his turn.

According to a BBC news report citing family members, soldiers also visited the homes of Chief Ministers in several regions and took them away.

Telecommunications in capital city of Nay Pyi Taw and some other regions and states had also been cut off.

In the largest city of Yangon, the city hall building has been seized by the military, and army personnel could be seen sitting inside the gate holding guns.

The state-run Radio and Television (MRTV) said on its social media that it has also stopped operations.

In the disputed elections, theNLD won 83 per cent of the available seats in Parliament, enough to form a government.

But the military-backed opposition Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) claimed that the result was fraudulant.

It had also filed complaints about “election fraud” at the Supreme Court against the President and the Chair of the Electoral Commission.

But the Election Commission last week dismissed the allegations.

Earlier this week, the military had warned that it will take action if the complaints were not addressed. It had also hinted the possibility of a coup.

Reacting to the development, India on Monday expressed “deep concern” and urged the neighbouring country to uphold the rule of law and the democratic process.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi said: “India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar.”

Condemning the coup, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the release of all government officials and civil society leaders and said that Washington “stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately”.

Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne said “we call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and other who have been detained unlawfully”.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Beijing hoped that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately handle their differences under the constitution and legal framework, while safeguarding political and social stability.

The spokesperson added that China “is a friendly neighbour of Myanmar’s” and are in the “process of further understanding the situation”.

–IANS

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