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Myanmar’s military seized power in a bloodless coup on Monday, detaining democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi as it imposed a one-year state of emergency.
The intervention ended a decade of civilian rule in Myanmar, with the military justifying its power grab by alleging fraud in the November elections that Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) party won in a landslide.
The coup sparked global condemnation, with the United States leading calls for democracy to be immediately restored.
Suu Kyi and President Win Myint were detained in the capital Naypyidaw before dawn, party spokesman Myo Nyunt told AFP, just hours before parliament was meant to reconvene for the first time since the elections.
The military sealed off roads around the capital with armed troops, trucks and armoured personnel carriers. Military helicopters flew across the city.
The military then declared, via its own television channel, a one-year state of emergency and announced that former general Myint Swe would be acting president for the next year.
It alleged “huge irregularities” in the November polls that the election commission had failed to address.
“As the situation must be resolved according to the law, a state of emergency is declared,” the announcement said.
The army later pledged to hold fresh elections after the year-long state of emergency.
“We will perform real multi-party democracy… with complete balance and fairness,” a statement on the army’s official Facebook page said.
Suu Kyi issued a pre-emptive statement ahead of her detention calling on people “not to accept a coup”, according to a post on the official Facebook page of the her party’s chairperson.
The military moved quickly to stifle dissent, severely restricting the internet and mobile phone communications across the country.
In Yangon, the former capital that remains Myanmar’s commercial hub, troops seized the city hall just ahead of the announcement, according to an AFP journalist.