In a military coup in Myanmar against the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, she was detained along with Myanmar’s President Win Myint along with other senior officials of the National League for Democracy (NLD) party.
In a statement on a military-owned TV channel, the Myanmar army said it had carried out the coup and detained these political figures in response to “election fraud”, Reuters reported.
The power has currently been transferred to military chief Min Aung Hlaing, and a year of state emergency is imposed, according to Reuters.
Communications were blocked into the capital Naypyitaw and commercial center Yangon, state television channel went off the air before parliament was due to sit after NLD’s election success in November 2020.
According to Reuters, all types of connectivity including mobile internet data, phone services were disrupted in NLD strongholds, and internet connections fell dramatically.
Myo Nyunt, NLD spokesman told Reuters that Suu Kyi and Myanmar President were taken into custody, adding that “I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,”.
He told Reuters he is expected to be arrested himself, and subsequently, Reuters could not reach him after the call.
The detentions occurred after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the military.
The White House said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the arrest of Suu Kyi.
“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,” spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement.
“Daniel Russel, the top US diplomat for East Asia under President Barack Obama, who fostered close ties with Suu Kyi, said another military takeover in Myanmar would be a severe blow to democracy in the region” Reuters reported.
“If true, this is a huge setback – not only for democracy in Myanmar, but for U.S. interests. It’s yet another reminder that the extended absence of credible and steady US engagement in the region has emboldened anti-democratic forces,” he said.
Suu Kyi is also a Noble Peace Prize winner but came to power following a house arrest in 2015, her international fame of peace was damaged when thousands of Rohinyans fled army operations into a refuge from Rakhine state in 2017.
She still remains famous at her home state and has many followers.