Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other top government figures have been detained “by the military,” a spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy told CNN on Monday.
“State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and some other senior figures are being detained in (the capital city of) Naypyidaw,” spokesman Myo Nyunt said.
The spokesman said that several ministers from large states in Myanmar had been detained by the military in addition to Suu Kyi. “The military seems to take control of the capital now,” spokesman Myo Nyunt said.
The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military, in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent, Reuters reported.
The NLD claimed victory after an election in November 2020, the country’s second democratic ballot since the end of military rule in 2015.
In a January 29 statement, 16 international missions in Myanmar urged the country’s military “to adhere to democratic norms.
“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 US, the UK and the European Union.
“We support all those who work toward greater democratic freedoms, lasting peace, and inclusive prosperity for the people of Myanmar.”
Human rights non-government organization Burma Rights UK said in a post to their Twitter that the news of Suu Kyi’s detention was “devastating.”
“This needs to be met with the strongest international response. The military need to be made to understand that they have made a major miscalculation in thinking they can get away with this,” the group said.
Suu Kyi was a hero of democracy in her home country of Myanmar, for being both a former political prisoner who spent two decades under house arrest and the daughter of assassinated independence icon, Suu Kyi.
Since her party won a landslide victory in 2015, she has been Myanmar’s de facto leader and held the position of state counsellor — a title invented as a loophole to the constitution barring her from becoming president.
But her international reputation has been tarnished in recent years by allegations of genocide against the Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya population.
Myanmar denies the charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.