Pro-military supporters gather in Myanmar before leader is detained

Video: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9an8r2iy24btljx/VRP8229.mp4?dl=0

Pro-military supporters held a rally in Yangon, Myanmar, on Sunday (Jan 31) afternoon shortly before leader Aung San Suu Kyi was detained and the army took power.

The supporters gathered close to the Shwedagon Pagoda in the city where they marched and chanted. They are heard in the video saying ‘we oppose all those who undermine sovereignty’ and ‘make the UEC solve the election fraud’.

Large protests had been going on for the previous three days amid anger at alleged fraud in the country’s disputed elections last November. The Union Election Commission (UEC) is accused of undermining the election.

Following the protests, which have gathered pace since the elections, Myanmar’s military later took control of the country and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians in the early hours of Monday morning. They also disconnected phone and Internet services.

Reacting to events, The White House said it was ‘alarmed’ by the developments in Myanmar, which is also known as Burma. Spokesman Jen Psaki said: ‘We continue to affirm our strong support for Burma’s democratic institutions.’ America called for Aung San Suu Kyi to be released and threatened to ‘take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed’.

Burma was governed by Britain from 1824 to 1948, during which time it became the second-wealthiest country in Southeast Asia but following independence was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began.