Myanmar’s generals announced on Monday that they had taken control of the country in a military coup and will rule for a one-year period.
The military said, through state broadcasters, that the current military-backed Vice President Myint Swe, a former military general, will be the interim president and that power resides with military chief Min Aung Hlaing.
The military said that it was forced to take power due to electoral fraud by the ruling National League for Democracy Party in November’s election.
Earlier on Monday, the military arrested de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other prominent civilian leaders.
The National League for Democracy, of which Suu Kyi is the leader, said in a statement that she was taken into custody early on Monday ahead of parliament’s official opening.
The military, which has its own political party, has contested the results of last year’s November 8 election result for weeks.
The military say that the results of the election should be voided due to poll irregularities because of Covid-19. The National League for Democracy won the election in a landslide.
Coup fears were seemingly allayed this past weekend after the military walked back earlier statements that it could rip up the constitution and take control.
The military, also known as the Tatmadaw, said in a statement on Saturday that it would continue to protect the 2008 constitution – calming political tensions in the country.
However, those statements seem to be an attempt at buying time to secure the necessary support for Monday’s coup.
According to Thai Enquirer Correspondents in Yangon, the military have also taken over the national broadcaster MRTV TV Station as well as shut off phone data in the Yangon Region ahead of the announcement of the putsch.
[Myanmar Coup] People in Yangon are crowding around ATMs throughout the capital as people wake up to news that their civilian leaders were detained and that a military coup was imminent.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) February 1, 2021
Cash runs on all banks at the moment. Live picture. #standwithmyanmar #Myanmar pic.twitter.com/M0KxtWZW12
Among those confirmed to have been arrested by the military is prominent rights activist Min Htin Ko Ko Gyi, NLD Central Executive Committee Member U Han Thar Myint, and several NLD MPs.
Monday’s coup means that Myanmar will once again revert to military rule. The Tatmadaw ruled the country for over four decades since Myanmar achieved independence in 1948.
It has detained, arrested, and assassinated dissidents and opposition figures by the hundreds during the course of its rule. The Tatmadaw have also waged bloody ethnic wars in the country’s autonomous regions and have been charged with genocide for its continued persecution of the Myanmar’s Rohingya ethnic minority.
[Myanmar Coup] The streets of Yangon are mostly empty as the National League for Democracy, whose leaders were arrested by the military, have called for calm.— Thai Enquirer (@ThaiEnquirer) February 1, 2021
They’re asking people to follow their local leaders and stand by for instructions. #standwithmyanmar #myanmar pic.twitter.com/MNe5FT7g2v