U.S. expresses alarm after military coup reported in Myanmar

A military coup was was announced after State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was detained under house arrest.

Published: January 31, 2021 9:53pm

Updated: January 31, 2021 10:59pm

The Biden administration expressed alarm Sunday night after a military coup was reported in Myanmar and the country's leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained under house arrest.

Myanmar's military announced on television — early Monday Myanmar time — that it has taken control of the country for one year. The country was formerly known as Burma.

The Irrawaddy, an established online news service, reported that Suu Kyi, the nation's top leader, and the country's president, Win Myint, were both detained in the pre-dawn hours of Monday.

Western countries, including the United States, expressed dismay at the development.

"The United States is alarmed by reports that the Burmese military has taken steps to undermine the country's democratic transition, including the arrest of State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and other civilian officials in Burma," White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said, adding President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation.

Psaki said the Biden administration "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.

Suu Kyi, 75, is by far the country's most dominant politician, and became the country's leader after leading a decades-long nonviolent struggle against military rule when her party captured 396 out of 476 seats in Parliament during a November election. But the military holds 25% of the total seats under the 2008 military-drafted constitution, according to the Associated Press.

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