Myanmar’s ambassador to Britain told reporters Wednesday that he had been locked him out of the London embassy for supporting overthrown civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“It’s kind of a coup,” said Kyaw Zwar Minn. “You can see that they occupy my building. … This is my building. I need to go inside.”
“There was a coup in Myanmar in February. Now there is the same situation in central London,” a spokesman said on behalf of Zwar Minn Thursday morning, adding embassy staff were being threatened with “severe punishment if they don’t continue to work for the military general.”
Myanmar’s military seized power in a coup on February 1, sparking protests and violence. Zwar Minn issued a statement last month calling for Suu Kyi’s release from detention and pledged to keep the embassy open.
The military responded by recalling him.
“Since he did not conduct himself in accordance with given responsibilities, an order [is issued] to summon and transfer him back to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” MRTV reported.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab condemned the actions as “bullying.”
“We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage,” he tweeted. “The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy.”
“Earlier today I spoke to Myanmar Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn,” he tweeted later. “I praised his courage and patriotism in standing up for what is right. We join his call for the immediate release of Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint, and for a return to democratic rule.”
The National League for Democracy, led by chairperson Suu Kyi, had governed Myanmar since its first open democratic election in 2015, but the military contested last November’s election results, claiming widespread electoral fraud.
Suu Kyi, who co-founded the NLD in 1988, has been detained or placed on house arrest several times. Her party won a landslide election victory in 2015, though a quarter of parliamentary seats are held by the military. Under the constitution, Suu Kyi cannot become president herself. The UN Security Council has called for her release and that of President Win Myint, who was also detained in the coup. More than 550 people have been killed in Myanmar and thousands injured during the bloody suppression of the protests.
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