Burmese Leader Aung San Suu Kyi Detained: Ruling Party Spokesman

January 31, 2021 Updated: January 31, 2021

Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other senior figures from the ruling party have been detained in an early morning raid, the spokesman for the governing National League for Democracy (NLD) said on Monday.

The move comes after days of escalating tension between the civilian government and the powerful military that stirred fears of a coup in the aftermath of an election the army says was fraudulent.

Spokesman Myo Nyunt told Reuters by phone that Suu Kyi, President Win Myint, and other leaders had been “taken” in the early hours of the morning.

“I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law,” he said, adding he also expected to be detained.

Burma’s newly elected lawmakers were scheduled to take their seats in parliament for the first time on Monday despite threats from the army and fears of a coup after the military alleged last year’s election was fraudulent.

Suu Kyi’s party the NLD won 83 percent of available seats in the Nov. 8 election, more than the 322 seats needed to form government. But the military-backed opposition has disputed the result and demanded a re-run.

Legal complaints against the country’s president and chair of the electoral body are pending at the Supreme Court.

The election commission has rejected the allegations, saying there were no errors big enough to affect the credibility of the vote.

In a statement on Saturday, the army said it would protect and abide by the constitution and act according to law, but pro-military demonstrations continued in major cities.

About 300 people marched through the commercial capital of Yangon on Sunday waving banners and chanting in support of the military and against foreign intervention in the country’s internal affairs.

A military spokesman did not answer phone calls seeking comment.

Under the country’s constitution, a quarter of seats are reserved for lawmakers from the military.

Many lawmakers from the ruling party spent years in jail under Burma’s former military government, which ruled for half a century until reforms began in 2011.