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White House 'alarmed' by apparent coup attempt in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi
Posted at 4:18 AM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 11:00:32-05

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar — Myanmar military television says the military is taking control of the country for one year, while reports say many of the country’s senior politicians including Aung San Suu Kyi have been detained.

The announcement, made Monday on military-owned Myawaddy TV, cited a section of the military-drafted constitution, which was ratified in 2008, that allows the military to take control in times of national emergency. Human Rights Watch in the past has described the section as a "coup mechanism in waiting.”

The announcer said the reason for takeover was in part due to the government’s failure to act on the military’s claims of voter fraud in last November’s election. The military has not presented proof to back up its claims.

The announcement follows days of concern about the threat of a military coup — and military denials. It came on the morning the country’s new Parliament session was to begin.

In a statement on Monday, the White House said that President Joe Biden had been briefed on the situation and added that it is "alarmed" by the reports.

"We continue to affirm our strong support for Burma’s democratic institutions and, in coordination with our regional partners, urge the military and all other parties to adhere to democratic norms and the rule of law, and to release those detained today," the White House statement read.