Myanmar coup protesters clashed with riot police at a rally in Bangkok, Thailand today (Feb 1).
Democracy supporters gathered outside the Myanmar Embassy in the Thai capital following a military coup in the neighbouring country.
Crowds wore red shirts, hats and masks – the colours of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They were joined by Thai pro-democracy activists.
They faced off with riot police before smoke bombs, paint, traffic cones, sticks and rocks were hurled at the officers, pushing them back along the road.
The rally came after Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and other politicians were detained by the army in Yangon, Myanmar, this morning (Feb 1) amid anger in the country at disputed elections.
Unrest has grown in Myanmar, also known as Burma, following elections last November. The Union Election Commission (UEC) is accused of undermining the election and opponents claim there was widespread fraud.
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 (Feb 1). They also disconnected phone and Internet services in a move branded a military coup and slammed by leaders across the world.
The military said in a statement that ‘all authority has been given to the top army commander and a one-year state of emergency has been declared’.
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.