Videos from Myanmar show 'textbook example' of military coup

(CNN)Myanmar’s military seized power of the Southeast Asian country in a coup on Monday, after detaining the country’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi and numerous other top government figures.

In a television address, the army announced that power had been handed to the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and that it was declaring a national state of emergency for one year.
Suu Kyi and several state ministers are being detained in the capital Naypyidaw, according to a spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy (NLD).

    An armed military soldier stands guard in front of the regional government office in Yangon, Myanmar, on February 1.
    The move comes after months of increasing friction between the civilian government and the powerful military, known as the Tatmadaw, over alleged election irregularities.

      The two bodies have attempted to share power since the 2015 elections, Myanmar’s first openly contested poll since the end of military rule. That power sharing relationship now appears to be over following Monday’s coup.

      Here’s what you need to know about the situation.

      Who is Suu Kyi? What is Myanmar’s political system?

      Suu Kyi was once celebrated as an international democracy icon. A former political prisoner, she spent 15 years under house arrest as part of a decades-long struggle against military rule.
      Her release in 2010 and subsequent election victory five years later were lauded by Western governments as landmark moments in the country’s transition to democratic rule after 50 years of the military regime.
      Myanmar Army seizes power after detaining Aung San Suu Kyi and ruling party politicians
      However, despite embarking on some democratic reforms and installing a quasi-civilian government under General Thein Sein in 2011, Myanmar’s military was not keen to relinquish their power. The ruling junta drafted a constitution in 2008 that made sure the military would continue to wield significant political and economic influence, regardless of future administrations.
      Under this constitution, the military is allocated a quarter of seats in parliament and it retains control of key ministries like home affairs and defense. The military also has veto power on any attempts to amend the constitution.
      It’s within this framework that Suu Kyi and the NLD first formed a government in 2015. She was elected to office under the title of state counsellor — which had been invented as a loophole, since the military-drafted constitution barred her from becoming President.

      Allegations of genocide against the Rohingya

      After her 2015 victory, Suu Kyi’s tenure was quickly marred by difficulties in making real progress with the peace process that aimed to end the country’s many ethic civil wars.
      Suu Kyi also came under fire internationally for failing to speak out against numerous atrocities allegedly carried out by the military against Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state. Hundreds of thousands of the persecuted ethnic minority were forced out of western Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh during violent military operations in 2016 and 2017.

      In photos: Aung San Suu Kyi

      Aung San Suu Kyi poses for a portrait in Yangon, Myanmar, in 2010. A month earlier, she had been released from house arrest.

      Suu Kyi, front center, is seen with her parents and her two elder brothers in 1947. Her father, Aung San, was the commander of the Burma Independence Army and helped negotiate the country's independence from Britain. He was assassinated on July 19, 1947. Suu Kyi's mother, Ma Khin Kyi, was a diplomat who was once an ambassador to India.

      Suu Kyi poses with Burmese comedian Par Par Lay, who was part of the pro-democracy act "The Moustache Brothers." Suu Kyi grew up in Myanmar and India but moved to England in the 1960s, where she studied at Oxford University. She returned to Myanmar in 1988 and co-founded the National League for Democracy, a political party dedicated to nonviolence and civil disobedience.

      Suu Kyi sprinkles water over the heads of her followers during a traditional new year ceremony in Yangon in 1989. Five days of celebrations were marked by anti-government protests closely watched by armed troops.

      Suu Kyi poses for a photo in June 1989.

      Suu Kyi addresses a crowd of supporters in Yangon in July 1989. About two weeks later, she was placed under house arrest and charged with trying to divide the military. She denied the charges.

      While under house arrest, Suu Kyi won the Nobel Peace Price in 1991. She was honored "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights."

      Suu Kyi speaks to hundreds of supporters from the gate at her residential compound in Yangon in 1995. She had just been released from house arrest, but her political activity was restricted.

      Suu Kyi addresses supporters in 1997, on the 49th anniversary of Myanmar's independence movement.

      Suu Kyi, in a 1999 home video, gives her support to economic sanctions against her country as a means to affect the governing military.

      Suu Kyi poses in front of a portrait of her father in 1999. In 2000, she was once again placed under house arrest.

      An activist holds a Suu Kyi portrait during a protest at the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, in 2009. The protesters were calling on the Chinese government to impose sanctions on Myanmar's military government following a Suu Kyi trial.

      Suu Kyi speaks in Yangon in December 2010, a month after being released from house arrest. She had spent 15 of the previous 21 years under house arrest.

      Suu Kyi is held by her son Kim Aris as she is greeted by supporters during a visit to the ancient temple city of Bagan in 2011.

      Suu Kyi meets US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon in 2011.

      Suu Kyi greets crowds while campaigning in Pathein, Myanmar, in 2012. She was running for a seat in parliament.

      Suu Kyi makes her way through a crowd in 2012, a day after she won a seat in parliament. It was Myanmar's first multiparty elections since 1990.

      Suu Kyi accepts the Ambassador of Conscience Award next to U2 singer Bono during a European tour in 2012.

      Suu Kyi is presented with the Congressional Gold Medal while visiting the US Capitol in 2012.

      Suu Kyi meets with US President Barack Obama in the White House Oval Office. Obama later visited her lakeside villa in Myanmar. It was the first visit to Myanmar by a sitting US president.

      Suu Kyi joins officer cadets for tea while visiting a military academy in Camberley, England, in 2013.

      Suu Kyi speaks during a Nobel lecture in Oslo, Norway, in 2015. She was finally able to receive the Nobel Peace Prize that she won while she was under house arrest in 1991.

      Suu Kyi descends from a stage decorated with a portrait of her late father during a campaign rally in 2015.

      Suu Kyi campaigns in Kawhmu, Myanmar, in 2015.

      Suu Kyi arrives at a polling station to cast her vote in 2015. Her party won a historic majority in the nation's first freely held parliamentary elections. Suu Kyi was not able to become president, however, because of a constitutional amendment that prohibits anyone with foreign relatives from becoming the nation's leader. She was later named state counselor, a role created especially for her.

      Suu Kyi and members of parliament take their positions during the presidential vote in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, in 2016. Htin Kyaw, Suu Kyi's longtime aide, was voted as president.

      Suu Kyi walks with Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, the country's military leader, at the Naypyidaw city airport in 2016.

      Suu Kyi and President Kyaw talk at a conference in Naypyidaw in 2016.

      Suu Kyi addresses the United Nations General Assembly in New York in 2016.

      Supporters rush to greet Suu Kyi in Washington, DC, after she met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2016.

      Suu Kyi is guided by National Park Service Ranger Heath Mitchell on her visit to Washington, DC, in 2016.

      Suu Kyi met with Pope Francis at the Vatican in 2017.

      Britain's Queen Elizabeth II greets Suu Kyi ahead of a private lunch at Buckingham Palace in 2017.

      US Vice President Mike Pence meets with Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Singapore in 2018.

      Suu Kyi stands before the UN's International Court of Justice in 2019. The nation of Gambia filed a lawsuit in the world court <a href="" target="_blank">alleging that Myanmar committed "genocidal acts"</a> against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims. Suu Kyi has repeatedly denied such charges, siding with the military and labeling the accusations as "misinformation."

      Suu Kyi casts her ballot during advance voting in 2020.

      Suu Kyi watches the vaccination of health workers at a hospital in Naypyidaw in January 2021. A few days later, the military detained her in a coup.

      Suu Kyi has repeatedly denied these charges, siding with military and labeling the accusations “misinformation.”
      Her government and the military are now facing a genocide investigation at the International Court of Justice.
      However, domestically she remained popular, especially among the Bamar ethnic majority. In November 2020 the NLD won another resounding victory at the polls, awarding Suu Kyi a second term.

      What triggered the coup?

      Monday’s crackdown is centered around November’s parliamentary election.
      The military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) performed dismally in the poll, prompting the party to demand a new vote, claiming bias and “unfair campaigning.”
      The military also repeatedly disputed the election results. It claims, without providing evidence, that there are more than 10.5 million cases of “potential fraud, such as non-existent voters” and called on the election commission to publicly release the final polling data.
      Despite accusations of genocide, Aung San Suu Kyi's party is on track to win another term in Myanmar

      Last week, a military spokesperson warned it would “take action” if the dispute wasn’t settled, and refused to rule out staging a coup.
      The election commission has denied there is widespread voter fraud.
      But the threat of military intervention prompted international leaders, including the United Nations Secretary-General to voice concern — and the military appeared to back down, claiming that its comments had been misinterpreted.
      By Monday, it became clear that the military had seized power in a coup.

      What’s the situation on the ground? What’s next?

      Suu Kyi, the President, and other cabinet members are being detained in their official residences, according to a spokesperson for the NLD. Suu Kyi is “feeling well” and walking around her home, said the spokesperson.
      Myanmar’s first Vice President and former general Myint Swe was installed as the country’s acting President on Monday.
      In its television address, the army said it had detained Suu Kyi and other political leaders for failing to take action over unfounded election fraud and had declared a state of emergency for one year. Power was transferred to the commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, who will carry out an investigation into voting irregularities, according to the announcement.
      Myanmar's military seizes power in coup after detaining leader Aung San Suu Kyi and ruling party politicians
      Justifying the coup, the military cited a section of the constitution that said in the event of a state of emergency, as is the case now, the commander-in-chief has the constitutional right to “take over and exercise State sovereign power.”
      Later on Monday, the military said it will hold a “free and fair” election after the election commission has been “re-constituted” and the voter lists have been investigated, and will return power to the winning party. It did not specify when the elections would be held.
      It’s hard to say what will come next, especially since there has been widespread disruption in internet and news access across the country — which could affect the ability of people to get information or organize any response via social media.
      Netblocks, which monitors internet blackouts around the world, said that real-time network data showed a major drop in connectivity in the early hours of Monday morning. At one point, the only operational TV channel was the Myanmar military-owned television network Myawaddy TV.
      Banks across the country were also temporarily shut down, with operations ceased until the internet connection improves, according to a statement from the Myanmar Bank Association.
      Doctors at several hospitals across the country have pledged to go on strike from Wednesday, to protest the coup.

      What have world leaders said?

      World leaders and international organizations were quick to voice alarm and concern.
      The United Nations Security Council will discuss Myanmar in private consultations Tuesday morning, according to its latest schedule, which has been updated following the coup.
      US President Joe Biden called on Myanmar’s military leaders to “immediately relinquish the power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions, and refrain from violence against civilians.”
      Biden threatened to review sanctions on Myanmar, saying the US removed sanctions over the past decade based on progress toward democracy. “The reversal of that progress will necessitate an immediate review of our sanction laws and authorities, followed by appropriate action,” Biden said in a statement.
      Other countries, including Canada, India, Japan, the UK, New Zealand and Australia, have also released statements calling for de-escalation and the release of those detained.
      Australia on Monday called for the immediate release of Suu Kyi and other senior leaders who are being detained by the military.
      In a statement, Marise Payne the Minister of Foreign Affairs said, “The Australian Government is deeply concerned at reports the Myanmar military is once again seeking to seize control of Myanmar.”
      Myanmar's military: The power Aung San Suu Kyi can't control
      “We call on the military to respect the rule of law, to resolve disputes through lawful mechanisms, and to release immediately all civilian leaders and others who have been detained unlawfully,” the statement said.
      Indonesia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also expressed concern, saying in a statement that it urged “all parties in Myanmar to exercise self-restraint and put forth dialogue in finding solutions to challenges so as not to exacerbate the condition.”
      In the Thai capital of Bangkok, protesters gathered outside Myanmar’s embassy on Monday. Video from Reuters showed some demonstrators burning a picture of Myanmar’s army chief.
      Myanmar shares a border with Thailand, which experienced a coup in 2014 when its military overthrew the government.
      UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a tweet Monday, “I condemn the coup and unlawful imprisonment of civilians, including Aung San Suu Kyi, in Myanmar. The vote of the people must be respected and civilian leaders released.”
      Meanwhile, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said they are “learning more about the situation” and that China is “a friendly neighbor of Myanmar, and we hope that all parties in Myanmar will properly handle their differences under the constitutional and legal framework and maintain political and social stability.”

        “The military’s actions show utter disdain for the democratic elections held in November and the right of Myanmar’s people to choose their own government,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of the international NGO Human Rights Watch, in a statement. “We urge concerned governments to speak out forcefully against the military’s actions and consider targeted sanctions against those responsible.”
        Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Aung San Suu Kyi’s name in the headline. This story has also been updated to reflect that Suu Kyi’s government and the military are facing a genocide investigation at the International Court of Justice.
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