Myanmar Military Arrests National Leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint

By THE IRRAWADDY 1 February 2021

The Myanmar military detained the country’s de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint in the early hours on Monday, according to National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesperson Dr. Myo Nyunt. Some of the ruling party’s Central Executive Committee members, lawmakers and regional cabinet members have been taken into custody as well. The apparent military coup occurred just hours before the scheduled start of the first session of the new, NLD-dominated Parliament on Monday morning. Mobile phone services have been cut off in Naypyitaw.

The arrests follow last week’s sharp escalation in tensions between the civilian government and the military after the latter made what was perceived as a threat to stage a coup if the government failed to act on its claims of mass fraud in November’s general election. The NLD won the vote in a landslide.

Dr. Myo Nyunt told The Irrawaddy: “This is a military coup attempt, but they can claim it is not, by forcing the President to call an urgent national security meeting for an official handover of power to them,” which would make the military takeover official.

According to the Constitution, only the President can declare a state of emergency and hand over power to the military.

The state-run television service is currently cut off and only the military-owned Myawaddy channel is accessible. Mobile communications are limited to within regions only.