Myanmar coup: Calls for Suu Kyi release as lawmakers held


Calls are growing for the release of Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi a day after a military coup which has seen hundreds of MPs held against their will.

Ms Suu Kyi, who was widely considered the country’s leader, has not been seen since she was detained by the military.

It took power after declaring a state of emergency, accusing Ms Suu Kyi’s party of fraud over its election win.

While no protests have been reported, there have been acts of defiance, including a strike by medical staff.

Ms Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy (NLD), demanded her immediate release on Tuesday. It has also called upon the military to accept the results of the November election, which saw the NLD win more than 80% of the votes.

Myanmar, also known as Burma, was ruled by the armed forces until 2011, when democratic reforms led by Ms Suu Kyi ended military rule.

What is happening now in Myanmar?

One day after the coup, the country appears to be in an uneasy calm. The streets remained quiet on Monday night and Tuesday morning, with troops patrolling all major cities and a night-time curfew in force.

The communications systems which had been disrupted on Monday had returned by Tuesday morning, with phone and internet connections running again.

On the streets of the main city, Yangon, people said they felt their hard-fought battle for democracy had been lost.

In a sign of civil disobedience, doctors working in government hospitals are reported as saying they will stop work from Wednesday to push for Ms Suu Kyi’s release.

Some medics are resorting to wearing symbols in silent protest.

At least one doctor has quit in protest.

Dr Naing Htoo Aung, a 47-year-old anaesthesiologist at Mongywa Hospital in Sagaing Region, told BBC Burmese: “Such coups cannot be tolerated at all. I resigned because I couldn’t work under a military dictator who did not care about the country and the people. This is the best response I can give to them.”

One 25-year-old resident, who asked not to be named, told the BBC: “Waking up to learn your world has been completely turned upside down overnight was not a new feeling, but a feeling that I thought that we had moved on from, and one that I never thought we’d be forced to feel again.”

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