Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of Myanmar’s governing “The National League for Democracy” (NLD) party has been detained by the military amid tensions between Myanmar Armed Forces and the nation’s Civilian Government.
After soldiers were seen on the ground in the capital Naypyitaw and the country’s largest city Yangon, the military announced their detention of senior government officials on state owned television and their appointment of commander-in-chief senior general Min Aung Hlaing as de facto head of state. They also declared a state of emergency and communication services have been disrupted during the ongoing situation. No major violence has been reported as of yet.
This has came amid high tensions ever since Myanmar’s last elections back in November in which the Armed Forces accused the result of being fraudulent and they have warned about taking action against the NLD-led government over this for weeks. The army are claiming to be acting within the law and the constitution. These accusations came about after the NLD won in a landslide victory in the winter election last year by 83% of the available seats.
A Nobel prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi has been highly praised by the international community since she was put under numerous house arrests for agitating against both the Ne Win dictatorship and the military junta following form him that ruled the country for decades. Daughter of national hero and founding father of the Burmese Communist Party Bogyote Aung San, she has instead chosen to follow the examples of post-soviet nations as a model for Myanmar’s political development and has condemned socialism and communism as forms of “autocracy”.
Under her leadership, she has been since broadly criticized for her tolerance and facilitation of the Rohingya crisis. Persecution of Muslims in Myanmar has been a prevalent issue throughout recent history and the recent crisis that began in 2017 had Suu Kyi’s administration turning a blind eye to the well documented cases of torture, sexual violence and mass-genocide against Rohingya community in Myanmar. Many Rohingya were forced to migrate to Bangladesh after their homes had also been destroyed with children and families reportedly killed in a campaign of terror by the Myanmar Armed Forces.
She has refused to condemn the atrocities on the basis that she does not recognize Rohingya people as citizens of Myanmar and aren’t eligible to constitutional rights. The situation has been described as a modern form of “apartheid” by international observers and as a case of ethnic cleansing trumped up by Buddhist nationalism and prejudice of Muslims orchestrated by both the government and the armed forces. This would see much of Suu Kyi’s former credibility as a champion of “democracy and human rights” revoked across the global sphere with most of her once loyal supporters dropping out as a reaction for her denial of the genocide against the Rohingya people and support for military actions at that time.
Raymond Christie, is a member of the YCL’s Glasgow branch