Myanmar lawmakers say army guarding them in government housing after military coup; Biden threatens sanctions


From The Associated Press


Media  – Hundreds of lawmakers from Myanmar’s Parliament are still confined inside government housing in the country’s capital, a day after the military staged a coup and detained senior politicians including Nobel laureate and de facto government leader Aung San Suu Kyi.


The takeover came the morning that lawmakers from all of the country had gathered in the capital for the opening of the new parliamentary session and followed days of worry that a coup was coming.


One lawmakers told the AP that he and about 400 parliament members were able to speak with each another inside the compound and communicate with their constituencies by phone, but were not allowed to leave. The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for his safety.


Military Junta Back in Charge: The man installed by army leaders as Myanmar’s new president is best known for his role in the crackdown on 2007 pro-democracy protests. Myint Swe was the army-appointed vice president who was elevated after the military arrested civilian leaders and declared a one-year state of emergency. But while Myint Swe is president, the real power lies with the country’s top military commander, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. He has been commander of the armed forces since 2011 and is due to retire soon, clearing the way for him to take a civilian leadership role if the junta holds an election as promised, Elaine Kurtenbach and Victoria Milko report.


U.S. Sanctions: President Joe Biden threatened new sanctions on Myanmar, calling the coup a “direct assault on the country’s transition to democracy and rule of law.” Myanmar has been a Western democracy promotion project for decades and had been a symbol of some success. But over the past several years, there have been growing concerns about its backsliding into authoritarianism. Global opprobrium toward Suu Kyi has been acute over her resistance to rein in or condemn brutal massacres and the forced exodus of Rohingya Muslims by the Burmese army. Matthew Lee reports.

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