Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained amid reports a military coup is underway in the country.
The National League for Democracy, Myanmar’s governing party, said that Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid.
The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.
Spokesman Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone that 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.
The National League for Democracy, Myanmar’s governing party, said that Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid by the military
Buddhist monks hold banners during a protest to demand an inquiry to investigate the Union Election Commission (UEC) as fears swirl about a possible coup by the military over electoral fraud concerns
A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking comment.
An NLD lawmaker, who asked not to be named for fear of retaliation, said another of those detained was Han Thar Myint, a member of the party’s central executive committee.
Myanmar’s military last week declined to rule out a coup to overturn an election result it disputes from last year.
However, it said on the eve of the first gathering of the new parliament that it remains committed to democracy.
The new parliament is due to meet on Monday for the first time since the November election, which was won in a landslide by Suu Kyi’s party, but which the military says was marred by fraud.
A group of Western powers including the United States issued a joint statement on Friday warning against ‘any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition’.
In a statement on Sunday, the military accused the foreign diplomats of making ‘unwarranted assumptions’.
The military ‘will do everything possible to adhere to the democratic norms of free and fair elections, as set out by the 2008 Constitution, lasting peace, and inclusive well-being and prosperity for the people of Myanmar,’ it said in the statement, posted on Facebook.
Tanks were deployed in some streets last week and pro-military demonstrations have taken place in some cities ahead of the first gathering of parliament.
Military supporters carry Myanmar’s national flags during a protest to demand an inquiry to investigate the election
Myanmar’s military last week declined to rule out a coup to overturn an election result it disputes from last year
The army said on Tuesday it would ‘take action’ against the election result, and when asked if it was planning a coup, a spokesman declined to rule it out.
The statement on Sunday did not directly address the issue of such action or of a coup.
However, the ruling party later said in a statement that Suu Kyi and other leaders had been detained.
Under the 2008 constitution, the military has gradually relinquished power to democratic institutions. But it retains privileges including control of the security forces and some ministries.
Legal complaints over the election are pending at the Supreme Court.
The election commission has rejected the military’s allegations of vote fraud, saying there were no errors big enough to affect the credibility of the vote.
This post was first published on DailyMail.