On Thursday Apr 8th, the British government condemned “bullying” by the Myanmar junta. This was after the Myanmar’s ambassador to London was ousted in an extraordinary diplomatic coup. The Burmese ambassador has called for the release of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
On Wednesday, Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn found himself on the street after being locked out of his office. Diplomats loyal to the Myanmar military authorities seized control of the embassy.
The defence attaché had taken over the mission in “a kind of coup”, two months after the military seized power in Myanmar. The ambassador urged the international community to help his country.
Outside the embassy, Ambassador Kyaw told reporters “Please assist our country and help our country as without international assistance we will not be able to get out of this mess.”
Myanmar is being rocked by daily protests demanding a return of democracy. The military is responding brutally to the protests with by killing almost 600 protestors to date, according to a local monitoring group.
New US sanctions
On Thursday, the US placed sanctions on Myanmar’s state gem company, Myanmar Gems Enterprise. US officials are vowing to cut off this business with their sanctions, as it is a key moneymaker for the junta.
Andrea Gacki is director of the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control. He reaffirms the US commitment to “denying the Burmese military sources of funding, including from key state-owned enterprises throughout Burma.”
There will be a block on all company assets of Myanmar Gems Enterprise. Additionally, there will be a ban on transactions with the company, according the department.
Several high-profile diplomatic defections, including Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations have been prompted by the coup.
Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn was recalled by the junta last month. This was after he issued a statement. His statement urges the junta to release Suu Kyi and deposed civilian President Win Myint.
British Foreign Minister gives his support via a tweet
Support came for the ambassador from British foreign minister Dominic Raab, via a tweet. Ambassador Kyaw spent the night in his car outside the embassy.
Raab wrote “We condemn the bullying actions of the Myanmar military regime in London yesterday, and I pay tribute to Kyaw Zwar Minn for his courage.”
“The UK continues to call for an end to the coup and the appalling violence, and a swift restoration of democracy.”
The Myanmar authorities had given official notice of Kyaw Zwar Minn’s termination as ambassador according to UK sources. The British government had no choice but to accept it as it is in line with diplomatic policy.
Deputy Ambassador Chit Win is now the Charge D’affaires, as appointed by the Defence attaché.
The Burmese Foreign Affairs Ministry had been in communication with their UK counterparts in London over the incident. Myanmar’s military spokesman, Zaw Min Tun, confirmed this information.
Ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn is required to return home. Zaw told AFP, “We have sent an official appointment letter already for Chit Win as the chief of mission there. They have accepted.”
Myanmar’s security forces are struggling to quell a civil disobedience movement aimed at overturning the Feb 1st military coup by holding protests.
To break up protest rallies, the army uses rubber bullets and live rounds. The army is also going on raids every night to arrest suspected dissidents.
At least 598 civilians are dead, and nearly 2,900 protestors are under detention. These figures are from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).
On Thursday, efforts by residents in Taze in the north-western Sagaing region to block the army from reaching their town resulted in at least six further deaths.
One witness told AFP “Our people used (homemade) guns and attacked them. But they used real bullets and shot us.”
The witness said the army wounded five others. He also said “ Six people were killed from our town.“
Myanmar’s local media reports state 11 people died in the incident.
Army chief General Min Aung Hlaing accuses the protesters of aiming to destroy the country. He claims to date the death count consists of only 248 civilians and 16 police officers.
9th April 2021 23:00
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