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YANGON — On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s military detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint in the country’s first coup since 1988, bringing an end to a decade of civilian rule.
The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy, which came to power in 2015, won another landslide victory in a general election last November. The civilian government was moving into its second term, but the military has claimed the election was marred by fraud and demanded an investigation.
Please join us for a special Nikkei Asia webinar, Democracy denied: Myanmar after the coup, on Wednesday, Feb. 10 from 18:30-19:30 JST. The panel will feature Nikkei Asia editor-at-large Gwen Robinson, Yangon-based journalist Thompson Chau, Jane’s security analyst Tony Davis, and Kavi Chongkittavorn, senior fellow for security and international studies at Chulalongkorn University.
For all our coverage, visit our Myanmar Coup page.
Read our in-depth coverage:
— Myanmar shuts down internet and data communications
— Who is Myanmar junta chief Min Aung Hlaing? 5 things to know
— Suu Kyi’s party cornered in Myanmar coup aftermath
— Indonesia and Malaysia call for ASEAN meeting on Myanmar coup
— Myanmar: Inside the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s government
Follow the latest developments here (Yangon time):
Sunday, Feb. 7
5:57 p.m. The Irrawaddy, a news site focusing on Myanmar, reports that police fired rubber bullets during the Myawaddy protest and arrested six people.
2:48 p.m. NetBlocks, a London-based independent internet service watchdog, confirms the partial restoration of online service in Myanmar. It remains unclear how long access will be available.
2:35 p.m. Internet access is restored in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon, more than a day after it was blocked by the government. Popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are still not available.
2:32 p.m. Shots were heard as police broke up a protest in the southeastern town of Myawaddy, which sits across the border from Thailand’s Mae Sod. Video streamed on Facebook shows armed police rushing at a crowd of a few hundred demonstrators. While the firing is clearly audible, it is not clear what kind of munitions are being used or if there are casualties.
11:46 a.m. Contact with the outside world is increasingly restricted, with international calls failing to go through and an internet block in still in place.
10:02 a.m. Thousands of protesters marched for a second day in Yangon. Some carried red balloons — the signature color of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party — and chanted, “We don’t want military dictatorship! We want democracy!” By mid-morning about 100 people had also gathered in the coastal town of Mawlamine in the southeast, and students and doctors were gathering in the city of Mandalay.
Saturday, Feb. 6
10:00 p.m. False information claiming that Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest spreads among the people across the country amid an internet blackout, leading many supporters to go out to celebrate. However, Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer who represent Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, confirmed to journalists that the information is false.
7:24 p.m. Australia’s foreign minister says Canberra is “deeply concerned” about reports that an Australian national has been detained in Myanmar, days after a military coup. Local media identified the Australian as Sean Turnell, an economic adviser to Myanmar’s deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
3:00 p.m. The British Embassy in Myanmar expresses concern over how the shutdown may potentially be used against the people of Myanmar. “The U.K. has been clear that the state of emergency must not be used as a smokescreen for a crackdown on rights and freedoms,” the mission tweets.
The U.S. Embassy echoes that.
The internet shut down came as over 1,000 demonstrators peacefully marched in the commercial district of Hledan in Yangon to protest against the coup. Lines of police officers stood by and faced off against the crowd, according to local reports.
2:00 p.m. The Japanese embassy notified nationals resident in Myanmar that the new blockages would begin at 9 a.m. on Feb. 6.
London-based independent internet service watchdog NetBlocks claimed that the country is experiencing a near-total internet shutdown. Internet connectivity was at 16% of ordinary levels as of 2 p.m. Saturday local time, it said.
10:00 a.m. A peaceful flash-mob protest takes place near the Hleidan Center, Yangon’s main shopping area. A group of ten walked along the street silently holding up messages written on A3 paper saying: “#Release Our Leader”, “#Respect Our Votes”, “Reject Military Coup.” The group dispersed when police appeared.
Although internet services including Twitter and Instagram are still blocked, sporadic protests and strikes are occurring elsewhere in the city.
4:10 a.m. Myanmar’s military-appointed Union Election Commission, in a statement dated Friday, says it has begun an investigation into “voter fraud in the 2020 general election.”
During the investigation, the letters of accreditation issued to members of parliament “will have no effects,” the government-run English-language daily The Global New Light of Myanmar reports in its Saturday issue.
The military has alleged fraud in the November election, which produced a landslide win for the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy, the party that formed the backbone of the civilian government before this week’s state of emergency.
In a “press statement” published in The Global New Light, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says: “In scrutinizing the official voter list issued by the UEC, the findings showed that over 10.4 million votes, about one-fourth of eligible voters, might have caused vote-rigging” in the election.
“The rejection of the previous Government to take action on repeated calls to address voting irregularities and frauds … clearly violated Section 417 of the State Constitution 2008,” the ministry says, calling this tantamount to an “attempt to take the sovereignty of the Union by wrongful forcible means and to disintegrate national solidarity.”
1:35 a.m. The U.S.-backed Voice of America says the audience for its local-language Myanmar news is “way up” in the wake of the coup. “Followers of @Voaburmese nearly tripled in three days,” the broadcaster says in a Twitter post.
Voice of America describes itself as “the largest U.S. international broadcaster, providing news and information in more than 40 languages to an estimated weekly audience of more than 280 million people.”
The broadcaster is part of the U.S. Agency for Global Media, a government agency, and is funded by the U.S. Congress.
12:30 a.m. MPT, Myanmar’s largest telecom provider, has blocked access to Twitter through its network as of midnight, sources familiar with the matter tell Nikkei Asia. The move comes as users were shifting to the messaging platform after the military cut off access to Facebook the previous day.
Norway’s Telenor Group, which provides telecom services in Myanmar, issues a statement on the government order: “All mobile operators, international gateways and internet service providers in Myanmar received a directive on 5 February 2021 from the Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC) to, until further notice, block the social media platforms Twitter and Instagram. This comes in addition to the current temporary block of Facebook.”
“While the directive has legal basis in Myanmar’s telecommunications law, Telenor Myanmar has challenged the necessity and proportionality of the directive in its response to MoTC, and highlighted the directive’s contradiction with international human rights law,” the statement adds. “Telenor Group is gravely concerned with this development in Myanmar, and emphasizes that freedom of expression through access to communication services should be maintained at all times, especially during times of conflict.”
Friday, Feb. 5
11:30 p.m. Balloons and ribbons in red, the color of the Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy, have cropped up on shops, homes and heads in Yangon.
9:20 p.m. Defiant student protestors enter a court earlier Friday after being arrested.
6:01 p.m. Since Myanmar’s new military rulers imposed a temporary block on Facebook, thousands in the country have joined Twitter, Reuters reports. Many are using the platform and pro-democracy hashtags to criticize the army’s takeover and call for peaceful protests until the result of November’s election, which was won in a landslide by Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, is respected.
The hashtags #RespectOurVotes, #HearTheVoiceofMyanmar and #SaveMyanmar all had hundreds of thousands of interactions by Friday, according to hashtag tracker BrandMentions.
5:15 p.m. The National League for Democracy of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi throws its support behind a civil disobedience campaign and says it will help people who are arrested or sacked for opposing this week’s coup. In a statement on an official NLD Facebook page, the party denounces the coup and Suu Kyi’s detention as “unacceptable” and says it has a duty to provide help to those penalized for opposing the military takeover.
3:29 p.m. Teachers in Myanmar become the latest group to join a civil disobedience campaign. Wearing red ribbons and holding protest signs, scores of educators gather in front of buildings at Yangon University of Education.
“We don’t want this military coup, which unlawfully seized power from our elected government,” said a lecturer. “We are no longer going to work with them. We want the military coup to fail,” she added, surrounded by other staff who held three-finger salutes, now used by many protesters in Myanmar.
One staff member estimated that 200 of the 246 university staff members joined the protest. There were also reports of a similar protest at Dagon University in Yangon.
12:26 p.m. After a meeting with visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo said the two countries’ foreign ministers had been asked to talk to Brunei, the current chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, to try to set up a special meeting on Myanmar. Muhyiddin referred to the coup as being “one step backward in the process of democracy in that country.”
9:00 a.m. The office of the U.S. National Security Council issues a statement on National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan’s phone call with Association of Southeast Asian Nations ambassadors in Washington.
Sullivan “conveyed President Biden’s deep concern regarding the coup in Burma and expressed appreciation for ASEAN nations’ attention to this crisis, noting the importance of regional support for the immediate restoration of Burmese democracy,” according to NSC Spokesperson Emily Horne.
Sullivan also “underscored the administration’s commitment to expanding U.S. engagement with ASEAN” and “discussed opportunities for enhanced cooperation on combating climate change, addressing the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting economic recovery, advancing maritime security, and encouraging people-to-people ties,” according to the statement.
8:04 a.m. Japan’s Kirin Holdings announces it will terminate its two joint ventures in Myanmar, becoming the first Japanese company to denounce the military coup that took place earlier this week.
The military’s actions were “against our standards and Human Rights Policy,” the brewer said in a statement. “We have no option but to terminate our current joint venture partnership with Myanma Economic Holdings Public Company Limited. … We will be taking steps as a matter of urgency to put this termination into effect.”
The Japanese company holds the majority stakes in Myanmar Brewery Ltd. and Mandalay Brewery Ltd., which are co-owned with MEHL, an entity that serves as a welfare fund for Myanmar’s military.
2:40 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden says Myanmar’s military “should relinquish power they have seized, release the activists and advocates and officials they have detained, lift the restrictions on telecommunications and refrain from violence.”
In remarks on his foreign policy, Biden says his administration “will work with our partners to support restoration of democracy and the rule of law and impose consequences on those responsible.”
2:10 a.m. Reuters reports that another senior figure in Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy has been arrested in Myanmar.
Win Htein tells Reuters in a phone call that he is being taken by police officers in a car from Yangon to the capital, Naypyitaw, but he does not say what the charges are against him.
1:10 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, says the administration thinks it “can work with Congress on a package of sanctions to impose consequences in response to this coup” in Myanmar. “We will also be working with allies and partners around the world.”
“This is an area where there is genuine bipartisan agreement,” Sullivan tells a news conference.
When asked about options for new sanctions, Sullivan says the administration is “reviewing the possibility of a new executive order, and we are looking at specific targeted sanctions both on individuals and on entities controlled by the military that enrich the military.”
12:50 a.m. China, one of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, comments on the drafting of the council’s press statement on Myanmar through its Permanent Mission to the U.N.
“It is noteworthy that the work on the press statement was not smooth,” the Chinese mission’s spokesperson says in a statement. “The zero draft of the press statement had been leaked to the media even before Council members had the opportunity to discuss it. When the discussion was still ongoing, misinformation was spread, saying that China had blocked a press statement.”
“We were shocked and baffled by the leak and the irresponsible rumors, which created difficulties for the Council’s collective efforts,” the spokesperson says.
“As a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, China hopes that all parties in Myanmar will put the aspiration and interests of the people first, properly handle differences through dialogue within the constitutional and legal framework and safeguard political and social stability,” the spokesperson says.
12:15 a.m. Asked for a reaction to the Security Council press statement on Myanmar, Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for the United Nations secretary-general, says: “I think it’s very welcome that relatively quickly the council came together to speak with one voice.”
The fact that the statement was unanimous “sends a very strong signal,” Dujarric adds.
“We have about 2,300 staff in Myanmar, both international and national,” the spokesperson says. “It’s a pretty large country presence.”
Thursday, Feb. 4
11:10 p.m. The United Nations Security Council has issued a press statement expressing “deep concern at the declaration of the state of emergency imposed in Myanmar” and calling for the immediate release of all those detained, including de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Thursday’s statement does not use the word “coup” and stops short of using the stronger diplomatic term “condemn.” It says Security Council members “stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”
The Security Council earlier this week discussed the situation in Myanmar but did not initially issue a statement.
The U.K. holds the council’s rotating presidency for February.
3:45 p.m. Japanese and Thai companies began flocking to Myanmar a decade ago, betting that its tentative embrace of democracy would open up an untapped market. Now the military coup threatens to throw long-nurtured business plans into disarray.
A look here at how the threat of sanctions is making business leaders think twice about investing in the country.
Meanwhile, Japanese multinationals in various industries have cautiously restarted factories in Myanmar following the military coup after deciding it was safe for employees to return to work.
1:00 p.m. The Yangon Stock Exchange’s benchmark falls for the second day in a row as the Myanpix index closes at 408.96, down 2% to a 10-month low. Of the six listed companies, logistics service provider Ever Flow River Group suffered the steepest drop, of 11%.
12:45 p.m. At least three arrests were made in Mandalay after a protest against the coup, Reuters reports. The arrests were confirmed by student activists from three groups, based in Mandalay and Yangon.
10:15 a.m. Protesters waved banners and chanted anti-coup slogans in Mandalay during the first street protest against the army’s takeover, posts on social media show. A Facebook video shows about 20 people outside Mandalay Medical University, with one person holding a banner that reads, “People protest against military coup” while the group chants, “Our arrested leaders, release now, release now.“
9:00 a.m. Japan’s Suzuki Motor confirmed that two factories near Yangon that make cars and trucks, which had been shut down since the afternoon of Feb. 1, the first day of the coup, have restarted operations About 400 employees had been on standby at home. Suzuki is the top seller in Myanmar and makes the Swift compact car and small trucks at the plants.
7:31 a.m. Facebook will be blocked until Sunday, the Ministry of Communications and Information says in an online letter. “Currently the people who are troubling the country’s stability … are spreading fake news and misinformation and causing misunderstanding among people by using Facebook,” the letter says. Many Myanmar citizens have been going online to criticize the coup.
Network monitoring group NetBlocks confirms state-owned telco MPT has blocked Facebook, Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Norway’s Telenor Asa says it has complied with the directive, though it “does not believe that the request is based on necessity and proportionality.”
3:16 a.m. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres pledges to mobilize international pressure on Myanmar’s military “to make sure that this coup fails.”
“We will do everything we can to mobilize all the key actors and international community to put enough pressure on Myanmar to make sure that this coup fails,” Guterres says in an interview broadcast by The Washington Post. “It is absolutely unacceptable after elections — elections that I believe took place normally — and after a large period of transition.”
Wednesday, Feb. 3
8:38 p.m. More than 1,000 doctors in 70 hospitals in Myanmar go on strike to protest the military coup that ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi two days ago.
5:00 p.m. Myanmar police have filed charges against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi for illegally importing communications equipment and she will be detained until Feb. 15 for investigations, Reuters reports.
A police request to a court detailing the accusations against Suu Kyi said walkie-talkie radios had been found in a search of her home in the capital, Naypyitaw. It said the radios were imported illegally and used without permission.
A separate document showed police filed charges against ousted President Win Myint for offenses under the Disaster Management Law.
4:00 p.m. Myanpix, the Yangon Stock Exchange’s benchmark index, fell 26.47, or 6%, to 417.25 from its previous close on Jan. 29, the first time since April 2020 the index has fallen below 420. Wednesday’s fall was the largest in percentage terms since March 2017. Trading on the bourse was suspended Monday and Tuesday. Only six companies are listed on the exchange.
2:50 p.m. China’s Foreign Ministry rejects suggestions it supported or gave tacit consent to the military coup. “The Relevant theories are not true. As Myanmar’s friendly neighboring country, we wish that all sides in Myanmar can appropriately resolve their differences, and uphold political and social stability,” spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing. During a visit to Myanmar last month, China’s top diplomat met with Myanmar officials, including Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power in the coup.
1:30 p.m. An NLD lawmaker tells Nikkei Asia that at around 10 a.m. the military ordered the party’s lawmakers to leave their quarters in the capital Naypyitaw within 24 hours. They were not allowed to leave when the coup occurred and a total of 387 people, excluding members of the military-affiliated Union Solidarity and Development Party as well as other people, are currently still there. The lawmakers said they are preparing to move out, adding that the military had given the same order Tuesday to which they answered that they would wait for instructions from the NLD leadership.
12:40 p.m. G-7 foreign ministers issue a joint statement condemning the coup.
“We call upon the military to immediately end the state of emergency, restore power to the democratically-elected government, to release all those unjustly detained and to respect human rights and the rule of law. The November election results must be respected and Parliament should be convened at the earliest opportunity,” the ministers say.
12:17 p.m. A protest against the coup is taking place outside the foreign ministry building in Tokyo
11:48 a.m. The International Monetary Fund last week sent $350 million in cash to the Myanmar government, part of a no-strings-attached emergency aid package to help the country battle the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.
There appears to be little the IMF can do to claw back the funds, Reuters says, citing sources familiar with the payments and international finance experts.
10:20 a.m. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato tells reporters that events in Myanmar “amount to a coup.” When asked if Japan would continue to provide Myanmar with economic report, he said: “we will consider our response while we keep watching the situation.”
10:00 a.m. Yangon Stock Exchange resumes trading after a two-day suspension. Network connections, which had prevented securities firms and banks from accessing the bourse’s trading and settlement system, have been restored. The military jammed lines of communication early Monday morning as a means to stage a successful coup.
9:49 a.m. Staff at 70 hospitals and medical departments in 30 towns across Myanmar have stopped work to protest against the coup, according to a statement from the Myanmar Civil Disobedience Movement posted on Facebook, Reuters reports.
The statement says the army, by launching a coup, had put its own interests above a vulnerable population facing hardships during the pandemic.
9:43 a.m. Myanmar’s military sets up a State Administrative Council, appointing election commissioners as well as the governor of the central bank.
4:42 a.m. Read our Big Story that delves into the coup that toppled Aung San Suu Kyi’s government.
3:00 a.m. The United Nations Security Council holds a teleconference to discuss the Myanmar coup but stops short of issuing a statement condemning the military’s actions. Talks among Security Council members are said to continue.
1:27 a.m. Facebook has blocked a page linked to the Myanmar military’s Myawaddy television network.
12:46 a.m. The U.S. has determined that the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar amounts to a coup, the State Department says, taking a step that will lead to restrictions on American aid to the Southeast Asian nation’s government.
“After a review of all the facts, we have assessed that the Burmese military’s actions on Feb.1, having deposed the duly elected head of government, constituted a military coup d’etat,” a State Department official says in a teleconference.
A senior State Department official adds: “This assessment triggers certain restrictions in foreign assistance to the government of Burma, as it should, and in addition, we will undertake a broader review of our assistance programs to ensure they align with recent events.”
U.S. President Joe Biden has already warned the military leadership faces new actions for its takeover and detention of Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian political figures.
Tuesday, Feb. 2
11:55 p.m. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, the former Senate majority leader, calls for “even more sanctions” on Myanmar’s military in response to its seizure of power.
“I hope and expect the United States will quickly make the obvious legal determination that this is a military coup and impose significant costs on the military for its attack on democracy,” McConnell says in Congress.
Congress has already given the White House authority to ratchet up sanctions as needed, according to McConnell, who voiced confidence in the stance shown by President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
“The new administration deserves credit for approaching this situation in a way that is bipartisan and coordinated with Congress.”
10:30 p.m. Here is a recap of some of the international business developments in Myanmar on Tuesday as businesses confronted the dramatic political events.
- Amata, Thailand’s largest industrial estate developer, has suspended work on a $1 billion project.
- Suzuki Motor, the largest automaker in the country by new car sales, halted operations at its two plants all day following half-day suspensions on Monday.
- Denso, a leading Japanese auto parts supplier affiliated with, has also halted production in Myanmar.
- Diaper maker Unicharm has done the same.
10:00 p.m. Another video of pots and pans being struck in unison in Yangon, Myanmar’s commercial capital.
9:40 p.m. Myanmar National Airlines will resume domestic and international flights on Thursday, but only for “relief flights,” the carrier says in a Facebook post.
The announcement appears to apply to repatriation flights.
9:00 p.m. The streets of Yangon echo with the sound of banging pots and pans as residents strike up a protests against the coup.
5:45 p.m. Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi is under house arrest in the capital Naypyitaw, Nikkei has learned, after the military seized control in a coup on Monday. A member of the lower house from the National League for Democracy told Nikkei on the phone that Suu Kyi was “detained by the military and then moved to her home,” adding that President Win Myint is also under house arrest.
5:30 p.m. Myanmar has closed its international airport in Yangon, its main gateway, Reuters reports, citing the airport’s manager. Yangon airport manager Phone Myint told the news agency that the airport had closed until May but gave no exact date.
4:20 p.m. Thailand’s largest industrial estate developer has suspended work on a $1 billion project in Myanmar due to fears that the military coup and possible international sanctions will drive investors away from the country.
“We and our clients are concerned about a possible trade boycott by Western countries,” Amata Chief Marketing Officer Viboon Kromadit told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s very likely to happen, particularly from the U.S. and the EU. And if that happens, new investment in Myanmar will definitely be badly affected.”
3:50 p.m. Telenor’s network in Myanmar is up and running and the telecoms operator’s customers are getting service, Chief Executive Sigve Brekke says at an earnings presentation. Phone and internet connections in Naypyitaw and the main commercial center Yangon were disrupted on Monday.
2:25 p.m. The Yangon Youth Network activist group, one of Myanmar’s biggest, says it has launched a civil disobedience campaign after the army seized power and detained Aung San Suu Kyi. It is one of the first signs of targeted action to oppose the coup.
“Yangon Youth Network… declared and urged civil disobedience as an immediate response,” a representative said on Twitter, noting that doctors at a hospital in Mandalay had also begun such a campaign.
12:03 p.m. The executive committee of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy party calls for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint along with others detained “as soon as possible,” in a statement posted on Facebook. The statement, posted on a verified Facebook page of party official May Win Myint, also called for an acknowledgment of the results of last year’s election won by the NLD and for the parliament session due to start this week to be held, according to Reuters.
9:24 a.m. The World bank says it is gravely concerned about the situation in Myanmar, warning the events risked a major setback to the country’s development. “We are concerned about the safety and security of people in Myanmar, including our staff and partners, and are troubled by the shutdown of communications channels both within Myanmar and with the outside world,” the bank said in a statement.
6:32 a.m. The U.N. Security Council plans to discuss the situation in Myanmar in a closed meeting on Tuesday, according to media reports. The U.N. called for the release of all those detained, a spokesperson says.
3:20 a.m. The Biden administration is briefing the U.S. Congress on the situation in Myanmar, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says.
3:00 a.m. “How the U.S. responds to the situation in Myanmar and, equally important, how ASEAN responds, could set the future trajectory of the relationship in ways that may be difficult to change,” writes Bilahari Kausikan, former permanent secretary of Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in commentary for Nikkei Asia. “This has implications that extend far beyond Southeast Asia.”
2:45 a.m. This video appears to capture, albeit inadvertently, a convoy of trucks rushing through Myanmar’s capital on the day the military seized power.
1:20 a.m. Myanmar’s ambassador to the U.K. is summoned to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and told London condemns “the military coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi,” according to a spokesperson.
In a meeting with Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn, Minister for Asia Nigel Adams “requested assurances of the safety of all those detained and called for their immediate release,” the spokesperson says.
Adams “also said that the U.K. would work with like-minded partners and pursue all necessary diplomatic levers to ensure a peaceful return to democracy.”
The minister’s comments echo those of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who says: “The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.”
12:10 a.m. U.S. President Joe Biden calls the military’s seizure of power in Myanmar “a direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and the rule of law,” adding that relevant American sanctions laws will undergo an “immediate review.”
“The international community should come together in one voice to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions, and refrain from violence against civilians,” Biden says in a statement.
Biden says the U.S. “is taking note of those who stand with the people of Burma in this difficult hour” and “will work with our partners throughout the region and the world to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law.”
“The United States removed sanctions on Burma over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action,” according to the statement.
In a separate statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken echoes Biden’s call for the release of detainees and says “the United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development.”
Monday, Feb. 1
11:35 p.m. As midnight approaches, a look back on some scenes from Myanmar and neighboring countries on the day of an apparent coup.
10:15 p.m. U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, who has met Suu Kyi in person and shown support for Myanmar’s democracy over the years, urges Washington to take action on the situation in the Southeast Asian nation.
“Reports that Burma’s military has rounded up civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi and key civil society figures are horrifying, completely unacceptable and obviously a saddening step backwards for Burma’s slow and unsteady democratic transition,” the Republican says in a statement.
“The Biden administration must take a strong stand, and our partners and all democracies around the world should follow suit in condemning this authoritarian assault on democracy,” says McConnell, the former U.S. Senate majority leader.
9:57 p.m. Michelle Bachelet, the United Nations high commissioner on human rights, expresses concern over the situation in Myanmar and calls on the military leadership to “respect the outcome of the elections.”
“I am alarmed by reports suggesting that at least 45 people have been detained — including elected parliamentarians under confinement — and I call for their immediate release,” Bachelet says in a statement. “There are also disturbing reports of journalists being harassed or attacked, and restrictions on the Internet and social media — which will restrict access to information and freedom of expression at this critical and frightening time for the people of Myanmar.”
8:00 p.m. Foreign companies that have invested in Myanmar, hoping that the end of military rule would open business opportunities in one of Asia’s most promising markets, now face a shock to their plans.
Read more about the early reaction by companies including Grab and Toyota Motor.
5:45 p.m. Army trucks and armored personnel carriers appear on the streets of Naypyitaw along with polices trucks in Yangon.
5:00 p.m. Developments in Myanmar are being followed closely by the nine other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the group’s chairman says in a statement. He reminds that the ASEAN charter includes “adherence to the principles of democracy, the rule of law and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
The chairman says “political stability in ASEAN member states is essential to achieving a peaceful, stable and prosperous ASEAN community,” and he encourages “the pursuance of dialogue, reconciliation and the return to normalcy in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.”
3:45 p.m. As the military’s action gains media attention, people in Yangon rush to markets and shops for panic buying.
3:30 p.m. Protesters in Bangkok wave images of Suu Kyi at a demonstration outside Myanmar’s embassy. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan tells reporters that the military takeover in neighboring Myanmar is “their internal affairs.”
But activist group We Volunteer says in a statement: “We reaffirm that as a member of ASEAN, we cannot stay silent to such an evil and unlawful act.” The group demands that Thailand “not endorse and legitimize” the coup or the government it produces. Political gatherings are illegal in Thailand under COVID-19 emergency rule, and there have been arrests for earlier breaches. Police in full riot gear disperse the demonstrators in what appears to be an intentionally forceful response.
2:30 p.m. Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs says it “viewed with serious concern” the latest developments in Myanmar. “Malaysia calls on the Myanmar military and all relevant parties to give utmost priority to the maintenance of peace and security in Myanmar, uphold the rule of law, and resolve any electoral discrepancies through established legal mechanisms and dialogue in a peaceful manner.”
The ministry says peace and stability in Myanmar are regional concerns. “Malaysia reaffirms the strong support for Myanmar’s democratic transition, peace process and inclusive economic development.”
ASEAN countries are usually slow to comment on political developments in other member states. Thailand has shrugged off the action in Myanmar as an internal matter, but Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia are more forthright in their statements.
1:55 p.m. Myint Htwe, an NLD member of parliament, says a statement issued on the NLD chair’s Facebook page is fake. Speculation on Twitter suggests the account might have been hacked in order to provoke a popular response to the coup.
1:48 p.m. The office of the commander in chief, Min Aung Hlaing, issues a six-point statement justifying the apparent coup. The order has a number followed by the year — 1/2021 — which is the same format used by an earlier Burmese junta, the State Law and Restoration Council, after it came to power in a bloody coup Sept. 18, 1988.
The new order claims that the Union Election Commission failed to resolve “a large difference” in the voter lists used for the general election on Nov. 8, and that calls for a special parliamentary session to address the issue were denied, as was a meeting on the same topic of the National Defense and Security Council.
The military leader’s statement says that a new election commission will be appointed and that voter lists must be checked “in accord with the law” — a phrase often used in State Law and Order Restoration Council statements in the late 1980s.
The statement says anti-COVID-19 measures “will be effectively carried out with momentum,” and efforts made to help businesses affected by the pandemic recover. It promises greater emphasis on “restoring eternal peace” in line with the existing National Ceasefire Agreement, to which some warring ethnic minorities have already signed on.
The sixth clause promises a fresh general election once these tasks are completed, and a transfer of power to the winning party in accordance with “the norms and standards of democracy.” The statement does not include a time frame, but a military-owned TV station reports in the morning that the process will last one year. “Pro Tem” or Provisional President Myint Swe also mentions a year’s duration in his statement at 10:30 a.m.
1:47 p.m. Locals report that the road leading to the parliament building in Naypyitaw, the capital, is buzzing with security personnel, with at least five armored personnel carriers in the vicinity. Other parts of the city are calm, and ministries appear normal with no added security.
12:37 p.m. India’s Ministry of External Affairs issues a statement on the coup in Myanmar: “We have noted the developments with deep concern. India has always been steadfast in its support to the process of democratic transition in Myanmar.”
12:07 p.m. Indonesia’s foreign ministry expresses concern over the situation in Myanmar, calls for the observance of the principles of the ASEAN charter and urges that all electoral differences be addressed using available legal mechanisms.
12:05 p.m. Banks agree to suspend all financial services due to poor Internet connections during the current political crisis, the Myanmar Bankers Association says. The banks are seeking permission from the central bank for the temporary closure, the statement says.
11:47 a.m. Rohingya refugees condemn the overthrow of a democratically elected government in Myanmar by the military on Monday, a community leader says.
“We Rohingya community strongly condemn this heinous attempt to kill democracy,” Dil Mohammed tells Reuters by phone. “We urge the global community to come forward and restore democracy at any cost.”
11:12 a.m. Thai Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan indicates the government will not criticize the coup in Myanmar, saying: “It’s their business — it’s their domestic issue.”
11:07 a.m. Anurat Intorn, chairman of Chiang Rai Chamber of Commerce on the Thai side of the border with Myanmar, says all border areas are sealed and border trade has been closed down indefinitely.
“We are working with the Royal Thai Army to negotiate with Myanmar side, asking them to help businesses to move back cars and trucks, which carried goods into Myanmar to get back to Thailand,” Anurat tells Nikkei Asia.
Thailand’s border trade value at the Chiang Rai border was worth around 10.5 billion baht ($351 million) in 2020, according to the Thai Chamber of Commerce.
11:00 a.m. The National Defense and Security Council (NDSC) meets in the presidential palace in Naypyitaw, the national capital, chaired by Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. It discusses alleged irregularities in 10.4 million votes cast in the November general election. Myanmar has 38 million eligible voters.
The military says it issued six warnings about the problem, and that 20 small political parties had put out 26 statements calling for the postponement of the opening of parliament. The NDSC said the violation of Section 417 of the 2008 Constitution, which relates to gaining power fraudulently and thereby compromising national sovereignty, justified invoking Section 418 (a) whereby legislative, executive and judicial powers are handed over to the the commander in chief of the defense services — a judicial coup of sorts.
10:30 a.m. Myint Swe, the former third vice president and the new “pro tem” (a Latin term meaning “for the time being” or provisional) president of Myanmar issues a six-point statement justifying the coup after earlier signing all the state of emergency documents. He chastises the Union Election Commission for failing to “ensure a free, fair and transparent election,” thereby compromising national sovereignty. It cites Section 417 of the constitution, which states that taking power through “wrongful forcible means” causes the loss of national sovereignty. If Section 417 is violated, Section 418 (a) can be invoked to transfer all legislative, judicial and executive powers to the commander in chief of the defense service. Clause six says the emergency declaration will remain in place for one year, and makes no mention of a new general election.
10:19 a.m. “Singapore expresses grave concern about the latest situation in Myanmar. We are monitoring the situation closely and hope all parties involved will exercise restraint, maintain dialogue, and work towards a positive and peaceful outcome,” Singapore’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson says.
10:17 a.m. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemns the detention of Suu Kyi and other political leaders and “urges the military leadership to respect the will of the people of Myanmar,” a United Nations spokesman says.
“These developments represent a serious blow to democratic reforms,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric says. “All leaders must act in the greater interest of Myanmar’s democratic reform, engaging in meaningful dialogue, refraining from violence and fully respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
10:00 a.m. Residents in Yangon are lining up to withdraw cash from their bank accounts.
9:50 a.m. U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken says in a statement that “The United States expresses grave concern and alarm” and urges “Burmese military leaders to release all government officials and civil society leaders.”
9:22 a.m. Japan urges Myanmar to uphold democracy. “We believe it is important that the relevant parties resolve the situation peacefully through dialogue and in line with the democratic process,” Japan’s top government spokesman, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, tells reporters in Tokyo.
9:00 a.m. Meanwhile, soldiers are in front of City Hall in central Yangon.
8:51 a.m. The U.S. warns Myanmar to reverse course following reports that the country’s military had arrested its political leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a White House spokeswoman says.
“The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar’s democratic transition, and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed,” Jen Psaki says.
8:30 a.m. Myanmar’s military-owned television says its commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing has taken over the country in what amounts to a military coup. The military has declared a one-year state of emergency, claiming that it carried out detentions of senior government leaders in response to fraud during last year’s general election.
8:24 a.m. Australia is “deeply concerned” about reports that Suu Kyi had been detained and the military was once again trying to seize control of Myanmar, Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne says. “We call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully.”
7:17 a.m. Mobile internet data connections and some phone services were disrupted in Yangon on Monday, residents say.
7:13 a.m. Soldiers are deployed outside City Hall in Myanmar’s main city of Yangon, according to Reuters.
6:30 a.m. Thant Myint-U, a Burmese historian, tweets: “The doors just opened to a very different future. I have a sinking feeling that no one will really be able to control what comes next. And remember Myanmar’s a country awash in weapons, with deep divisions across ethnic & religious lines, where millions can barely feed themselves.”
6:18 a.m. Myanmar state TV says in a Facebook post that it is having technical errors and unable to broadcast.
6:00 a.m. Myanmar’s military has detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, the ruling National League for Democracy tells Nikkei.
NLD spokesperson Myo Nyunt says the situation regarding NLD lawmakers is unclear, with parliament scheduled to convene on the day. According to the spokesperson: “The military should abide by the law. We need broad support from the international community to protect the democracy in Myanmar.”
5:21 a.m. Reuters reports breaking news: “MYANMAR LEADER AUNG SAN SUU KYI DETAINED — RULING PARTY SPOKESMAN.”