Democratic leaders in Myanmar, also called Burma, were arrested in a military coup on Monday, under the order of Army Chief Min Aung Hlaing. World leaders have condemned the military’s actions, with the White House issuing a statement reading, “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.” The military’s actions came after the political party National League for Democracy gained a landslide victory in the country’s elections, leaving only 33 seats out of the 476 available to the military-backed political party.
“The actions of the military are actions to put the country back under a dictatorship,” stated a spokesperson for senior government leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is among those being detained by the military.
Both sides condemn the actions. CNN’s Helen Regan wrote that current events evoke memories of history past: “Memories of living under the brutal military rule of the past are seared into the minds and bodies of many Burmese people. Critics, activists, journalists, academics and artists were routinely jailed and tortured during nearly 50 years of isolationist rule.”
“All the things happened during those 36 years, history is repeating. The cycle is repeating. Nothing is new, nothing is strange. It is the same.”Anonymous Burmese reporter
President of the European Commission Ursula Gertrud von der Leyen tweeted, “I strongly condemn the coup in Myanmar. The legitimate civilian government must be restored, in line with the country’s constitution & the November elections. I call for the immediate & unconditional release of all those detained.” Sherine Tadros, Director of Advocacy for human rights organization Amnesty International said in a statement that the coup was partially the fault of United Nations Security Council members who have remained silent and failed to act against “perpetrators of grave crimes” in years past. “Will Security Council members continue to only talk to each other, and behind closed doors, or finally act firmly to prevent further rights violations and the very real threat of a worsening human rights crisis?” she asked.