The head of Myanmar’s military has taken charge of the country from its civilian-run government, an army-run television station declared, after civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her party were detained in a Monday morning raid.
The coup marks a major blow to the country’s transition from military rule to democracy, which began about a decade ago. The U.S. and human-rights groups called on the military to adhere to democratic norms.
Tensions have been rising for days over the results of a November election that Ms. Suu Kyi’s party won by a landslide. Only the second truly contested and democratic vote since the end of military rule in the Southeast Asian country, it was called fraudulent by the army-backed opposition party, which alleged false names on voter lists. Myanmar’s Union Election Commission has denied that claim.
The announcement on military television said the commission hadn’t adequately addressed the allegations, making a one-year state of emergency necessary to restore order and stability. Power has been transferred to army chief Min Aung Hlaing, it said. Parliament was scheduled to convene on Monday for its first session since the election.
“The United States is alarmed by reports that the Burmese military has taken steps to undermine the country’s democratic transition,” White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said about the developments in Myanmar, also known as Burma. “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.”