Myanmar police file charges against Aung San Suu Kyi

Thursday, 04 Feb, 2021

The charge came to light two days after Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest and appeared to be an effort to lend a legal veneer to her detention, though the generals have previously kept her and others locked up for years.

"China and its Asian partners have, on the other hand, pursued quiet engagement while publicly asserting their traditional unwillingness to interfere in the internal affairs of the country".

Min Min Aung, an Ottawa resident also gathered outside the embassy Monday, said members of the local Burmese community want to see Canada do more than just put out a statement. The biggest city is Yangon (Rangoon) but the capital is Nay Pyi Taw.

Myanmar's early response to the pandemic mirrored that of many countries: borders were almost completely closed, lengthy quarantines were imposed on travelers, and daily life slowed with stay-at-home orders.

Suu Kyi could face up to 2 years in jail on the charge.

"After many requests, this way was inevitable for the country and that's why we had to choose it", he said during the first cabinet meeting, according to a speech posted on the military's official Facebook page.

What has happened now, and why?

The armed forces had backed the opposition, who were demanding a re-run of the vote, claiming widespread fraud.

"You could expect the military to take full advantage of COVID-19 as a political opportunity, not as a health care responsibility to the people of Myanmar", said Ronan Lee, a visiting scholar at Queen Mary University of London's International State Crime Initiative. The new parliament was to have opened Monday.

He has long wielded significant political influence, successfully maintaining the power of the Tatmadaw - Myanmar's military - even as the country transitioned towards democracy.

A one-year state of emergency has been declared with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi believed to be detained by the military. She was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize in absentia for championing democracy and rights under the then-ruling junta.

When she disputed allegations at the U.N. International Court of Justice at The Hague just over a year ago that army personnel killed Rohingya civilians, torched houses and raped women, fellow Nobel Prize victor Jody Williams saw it as a betrayal. The NLD won 396 seats in a November general election.

However, her global reputation suffered severely after she defended a deadly army crackdown on the Rohingya minority.

Party officials say she has not been moved from her residence, where she was being held under house arrest.

Some members of Congress joined the White House in calling for an immediate reversal of the military's actions, and worldwide pro-democracy and human rights groups added their voices.

The EU, UK and United Nations are among those to have condemned the military takeover. The military's power and interests were guaranteed and written into the 2008 Constitution and Suu Kyi lacked the moral leadership to push for a democratic vision that respected and protected human rights.

On Tuesday the United Nations' Myanmar envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, urged the U.N. Security Council to "collectively send a clear signal in support of democracy in Myanmar".

But not everyone has reacted in this way. Others used a three-finger salute that has become a symbol of pro-democracy protests in neighboring Thailand, where the military staged a coup six years ago and remains influential.

In response to the coup, Suu Kyi's party has called for nonviolent resistance, and scores of people in Yangon, Myanmar's largest city, honked vehicle horns and banged on pots and pans on Tuesday night in a protest. After street protests against the military dictatorship, the generals allowed elections in 2015 that were won by Suu Kyi's party.

In episode 674 of Cut The Clutter, Gupta explains the events that led up to the coup and its strategic implications for India and the region.