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Aung San Suu Kyi calls for protests in Myanmar following military coup

Aung San Suu Kyi said that the military was trying to return to a dictatorship.

Aung San Suu Kyi
Aung San Suu Kyi calls for protests in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi has advocated protests against a military coup in Myanmar, after she and other members of the ruling party were arrested by the army.

Myanmar military coup protests expected

Aung San Suu Kyi said that the military was trying to return to a dictatorship saying: “I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup by the military.” On Monday February 1st morning, military television announced that the army had taken control of the country for one year, with commander-in-chief General Min Aung Hlaing now running the country.

A state of emergency has been declared and senior government leaders have been detained as a result of “fraud” during last year’s general election.

An anonymous National League for Democracy (NLD) lawmaker stated that Han Thar Myint, a member of the party’s central executive committee and a student union leader were also arrested.

An independent Myanmar analyst, David Mathieson, predicts that many would heed the calls for protests from Aung San Suu Kyi saying: “You don’t get to lock up, again, a national idol. The moment Suu Kyi comes out and gives the order to do something, people will probably comply. People don’t want to go back [to full military rule].

Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won a landslide victory in November’s elections, securing 396 out of 476 seats, which granted it another five years in government. The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party won just 33 seats but claimed to have found 8.6m cases of fraud. The election commission has denied fraud, even though it admitted that there were “flaws” in voter lists.

Aung San Suu Kyi spent nearly 15 years in detention as part of a decades-long struggle against military rule, before leading the NLD to a sweeping victory in Myanmar’s first openly contested election in 2015. Myanmar had been under a military dictatorship for five decades until 2011. Her international reputation was damaged by her treatment of the Rohingya, and her decision to defend Myanmar against allegations of genocide, but she is still adored by many in Myanmar and regarded as the mother of the nation.

The army is still extremely powerful as a result of a junta-backed constitution that gives it control over key ministries and guarantees it a quarter of parliamentary seats.

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