Myanmar military coup condemned around the world

Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks to media in Yangon in November 2015. | REUTERS

Myanmar's powerful military chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, is in the spotlight after politicians from the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD) party were detained and the army announced it was taking power.

The detainment of Suu Kyi and other National League for Democracy leaders comes days after Myanmar's military attempted to downplay concerns about a coup by stating it would protect the country's constitution, despite its allegations of vote fraud in November's election.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT Governments and worldwide organizations condemned the takeover, saying it sets back the limited democratic reforms Myanmar has made.

Myanmar's military leaders "must immediately free the democratic leaders of Myanmar and remove themselves from government, " said Democratic Sen.

The statement said President Joe Biden had been briefed on the matter. (These include, according to one report, the Karen reggae singer Saw Poe Kwah.) Party officials and activists were also detained in other parts of Myanmar as lines of communication such as radio and the internet were cut. The army said it had carried out the detentions in response to "election fraud", handing power to military chief General Min Aung Hlaing and imposing a state of emergency for one year.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga's delay in addressing the apparent coup in Myanmar has stood out as key leaders across the Indo-Pacific and the West speak out against the military power grab in the Southeast Asian nation.

"The military coup shows a systemic failure in how the global community has dealt with Myanmar in recent years by normalising the Myanmar military and their businesses, despite the fact they have committed genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity", the group said in a statement. "I urge people not to accept this, to respond and wholeheartedly to protest against the coup", it said.

Australia has had military cooperation with Myanmar for years.

Derek Mitchell, the first U.S. ambassador to Myanmar after the opening, said the United States no longer enjoyed the same leverage. Earlier, it banned him from visiting the United States.

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"We oppose any attempt to alter the outcome of the elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition", said the statement, which was signed by missions from the USA, the United Kingdom and the European Union.

Myanmar denies the charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.

"By not doing that we are really giving a green light to Myanmar and its military that they can do whatever they want to do with no accountability for their actions".

"The military must reverse these actions immediately", he said.

Menendez charged that the Myanmar army was guilty of "genocide" against minority Rohingya Muslims - a determination yet to be stated by the US government - and of a sustained campaign of violence against other minorities.

"Quickly dispatching a senior envoy to Naypyidaw carrying rare bipartisan congressional backing would be an appropriate next step", she said, referring to Myanmar's 15-year-old capital.

A USA senator raised the possibility the United States could again impose economic sanctions, which the US lifted when Myanmar was transitioning to civilian rule.

Min Aung Hlaing studied other political transitions, diplomats and observers have told Reuters, and has made much of the need to avoid the chaos seen in Libya and other Middle Eastern countries after regime change in 2011.

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