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Comments on Myanmar’s arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, other figures

Yangon, Myanmar

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy said on Monday.

The move came after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.

Marise Payne, Australian Foreign Minister

“The Australian Government is deeply concerned at reports the Myanmar military is once again seeking to seize control of Myanmar and has detained State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint.

“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.

Thant Myint-U, historian and author:

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“The doors just opened to a very different future. I have a sinking feeling that no one will really be able to control what comes next. And remember Myanmar’s a country awash in weapons, with deep divisions across ethnic and religious lines, where millions can barely feed themselves.”

John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch:

“The military junta that ruled Myanmar for decades never really stepped away from power in the first place … They never really submitted to civilian authority in the first place, so today’s events in some sense are merely revealing a political reality that already existed.

“The US and other countries with sanctions regime should send a strong message today, by immediately revoking sanctions relaxations and imposing strict and directed economic sanctions on the military leadership and its enormous economic conglomerates; and pressing other key counties — including South Korea and Japan — to force businesses to divest. The Burmese junta doesn’t want to go back to being China’s vassal.”

Murray Hiebert, Southeast Asia expert at Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington:

“The US as recently as Friday had joined other nations in urging the military not to move forward on its coup threats. China will stand by Myanmar like it did when the military kicked out the Rohingya.

“The Biden Administration has said it will support democracy and human rights. But the top military officers are already sanctioned so it’s not clear immediately clear what concretely the US can do quickly,”

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