Myanmar – Foreign Embassies Rebuked Over Coup Statements & Elected Leader Arrested

On Sunday, Myanmar’s military rebuked foreign embassies for voicing concern over developments in the country, where threats from the army and fears of a coup have overshadowed the planned opening of parliament.

The army said in a statement posted on Facebook it “categorically denies” impeding the democratic transition and warned the diplomatic community “not to make unwarranted assumptions about the situation”.

In a statement on Friday, Western nations including the United States and European Union urged the military to “adhere to democratic norms” and opposed “any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition”.

Myanmar’s army, known locally as the Tatmadaw, last week threatened to “take action” over last year’s election, which resulted in a landslide victory for the ruling party led by Aung San Suu, saying it was fraudulent.

Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s governing National League for Democracy (NLD) party, has been arrested, a party spokesman said today.

It comes amid tensions between the civilian government and the military, stoking fears of a coup.

At elections in November, the NLD won enough seats to form a government, but the army says the vote was fraudulent.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the military until 2011. Ms Suu Kyi spent many years under house arrest.

The newly-elected lower house of parliament was due to convene for the first time on Monday but the military was calling for a postponement.

There are soldiers on the streets of the capital, Naypyitaw, and the main city, Yangon, according to reports from BBC news.

NLD spokesman Myo Nyunt told the Reuters news agency by phone that Ms Suu Kyi, President Win Myint and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.

Telephone and internet lines in Naypyitaw have been cut, the BBC’s Burmese Service reports.

Soldiers also visited the homes of chief ministers in several regions and took them away, family members said.

On Saturday Myanmar’s armed forces promised to abide by the constitution as concerns grew that they were preparing to stage a coup.

What happened in the election?

The NLD won 83% of available seats in the 8 November election in what many saw as a referendum on Ms Suu Kyi’s civilian government.

It was just the second election since the end of military rule in 2011.

But the military has disputed the result, filing complaints at the Supreme Court against the president and the chair of the electoral commission.

Fears of a coup rose after the military recently threatened to “take action” over alleged fraud. The election commission has rejected the allegations.