Britain has condemned the harassment by Myanmar’s military government after the country’s ambassador to London was ousted by an extraordinary diplomatic coup after demanding the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Diplomats loyal to Myanmar military authorities took control of the embassy on Wednesday, leaving Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn locked in the street.
The ambassador said the defense attaché had taken over the mission in a kind of coup, two months after the military took power in Myanmar and asked the international community to help his country.
“Please help our country and help our country because without international help we will not be able to get out of this mess,” he told reporters outside the embassy.
The daily protests demanding the return of democracy have shaken the country and brought about a brutal response by the armed forces, with about 600 civilians killed according to a local monitoring group.
Radio Free Asia reported on Friday that at least 11 other protesters were killed by security forces on Thursday. There have also been reports of people being taken from their homes by security forces without an arrest warrant.
Promising to deprive the military government of a major source of revenue, the United States on Thursday cracked down on sanctions against Myanmar’s state-owned gemstone enterprise, the Myanmar Gems Enterprise.
The United States is committed to denying Burma military sources of funding, including from key state-owned enterprises across Burma, said Andrea Gacki, director of Treasury Departments Office of Foreign Assets Control, using the former Myanmars name.
The department said it would block all assets and stop any transaction with the company.
The coup has prompted several high-profile diplomatic departures, including the country’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kyaw Moe Tun.
The military government recalled Kyaw Zwar Minn last month after he issued a statement urging them to release Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted civilian President Win Myint.
The video shows Myanmar security forces pursuing and firing in the direction of an anti-coup protest. Sources told RFA that at least 11 protesters were killed across the country on Thursday as the army continued its brutal crackdown. pic.twitter.com/rpMkntwtsT
Radio Free Asia (@RadioFreeAsia) April 8, 2021
There is no choice but to accept
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab posted on social media his support for the ambassador, who spent the night in his car outside the embassy.
We condemn the provocative actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage, wrote Raab.
The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the horrific violence and a speedy restoration of democracy.
Sources in the UK said that the Myanmar authorities had officially announced the termination of Kyaw Zwar Minns as ambassador and in line with diplomatic policy the government had no choice but to accept him.
The defense attache has installed Deputy Ambassador Chit Win as the accused daffaires.
Myanmar military spokesman Zaw Min Tun confirmed that the country’s Foreign Ministry had been in contact with their UK counterparts in London about the incident.
We have sent an official letter of appointment already to Chit Win as head of mission there. They agreed, he told the AFP news agency, adding that the ambassador was asked to return home.
The heartbeat actor is held
Myanmar security forces have tried to quell protests and a civil disobedience movement aimed at overthrowing the February 1 military coup.
They used rubber-coated bullets and live rounds to disrupt rallies and used night raids to arrest suspected dissidents.
The Association for the Relief of Political Prisoners (AAPP) says at least 614 civilians have been killed and nearly 2,900 arrested, while 500 arrest warrants have been issued.
Six of the 11 deaths reported Thursday were in Taze in the northwestern Sagaing region as residents tried to block the army to reach the city.
Our people used (household) weapons and attacked them. But they used real bullets and shot us, a witness told AFP.
As part of its efforts to suppress the movement, the military government has issued a search warrant for about 140 celebrities accused of inciting protests by giving their support.
On Thursday, the military arrested lead actor, model and heartbeat Paing Takhon in a dawn attack on his mothers’ home in Yangon.
The 24-year-old star in Myanmar and neighboring Thailand has been active in the protest movement both in person at rallies and through his huge following on social media.
In February, he posted pictures of himself in a white tracksuit with a megaphone, tight hat and a fluffy white dog tied to his chest in a protest.
International powers have expressed outrage and shock at the brutal approach of military governments, but the UN Security Council has stopped considering sanctions, with China and Russia opposed to the move.
The military has defended its takeover, citing allegations of vote-rigging in the November election that Aung San Suu Kyis’s party easily won and says it is responding proportionately to the demonstrations.
The coup leader, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, accused the protesters of wanting to destroy the country and said only 248 protesters had been killed, along with 16 police officers.
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