The United States is gravely concerned and alarmed by the Burmese military’s coup d’état. The military has detained the leaders of the governing National League for Democracy party and Burma’s civilian leadership, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, along with cabinet ministers, the chief ministers of several regions, opposition politicians, writers, civil society representatives and activists.
The Burmese parliament was scheduled to hold its first session since the country’s November 8 elections in which the National League for Democracy, or NLD, the country’s leading civilian party, won 83 percent of the open seats. Aung San Suu Kyi, the head of the NLD, has been the country’s civilian leader since taking office in 2015.
Burmese military leaders refused to accept the results of the election, calling them fraudulent. When its allegations failed to gain any traction, troops surrounded the parliament building and launched a coup d’état.
The Burmese military announced a one-year state of emergency on television, claiming that the 2008 constitution gives the military the right to declare a national emergency. The military has seized control of the country’s infrastructure, taken over most government ministries, and suspended most television broadcasts, and launched a campaign to crack down on civil society.
The military has turned power over to army chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. During its years of power-sharing with civilian elected officials, the military maintained substantial influence in Burmese political affairs. The constitution grants the military control of the defense and interior ministries. Moreover, soldiers are guaranteed a quarter of the seats in the parliament.
President Joe Biden has urged the international community to come together to press the Burmese military to immediately relinquish power they have seized, release the activists and officials they have detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions, and refrain from violence against civilians.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on “Burmese military leaders to. . .respect the will of the people of Burma as expressed in democratic elections on November 8. The United States stands with the people of Burma in their aspirations for democracy, freedom, peace, and development. The military must reverse these actions immediately.”