Protests erupted in Japan, today (Feb 1) amid anger over a military coup in Myanmar.
Large crowds gathered outside the United Nations University in Tokyo where supporters chanted messages in support of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who was detained in the early hour of the morning before the army took power.
The apparent coup came following large pro-military rallies that have grown over the previous three days in Myanmar capital Yangon amid anger at alleged fraud in the country’s disputed elections last November. The Union Election Commission (UEC) is accused of undermining the election to give power to Nobel Peace Prize laurette Aung San Suu Kyi.
Following the protests, which have gathered pace since the elections, Myanmar’s military took control of the country and detained Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians in the early hours of Monday morning (Feb 1). 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, the country was ruled by the military until 2011 when democratic reforms began.