US Ambassador Calls for Myanmar Military to Restore Power to Elected Government

By The Irrawaddy 8 February 2021

YANGON — The United States’ ambassador to Myanmar has called again for the military regime to restore the democratically elected National League for Democracy (NLD) government and relinquish power.

As anti-coup protests spread across the country, Thomas Vajda urged the military to release those detained, lift all telecommunications restrictions and refrain from violence.

Western countries’ embassies have also issued a joint statement condemning the military takeover but the US press release is the first by an individual western or Asian embassy.

Vajda said: “We support the right of the people of Myanmar to protest in support of the democratically elected government and their right to freely access information.”

US President Joe Biden already warned of new sanctions on Myanmar’s military and said it would review its assistance programs to Myanmar to ensure they align with conditions. The US said it has been in close cooperation with its allies and partners to support the restoration of democracy and the rule of law and impose sanctions on those responsible.

The military claimed it was forced to act due to electoral fraud and the failure of the civilian government to address the issue.

In the early morning raid, the military detained State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and President U Win Myint, other leaders and prominent activists. Popular news channels, including CNN and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), have been blocked since Feb. 1.

It banned popular social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as support grows for civil disobedience campaigns online. The regime also blocked the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist and wire services AP and Reuters on Sunday.

Elected NLD parliamentarians on Friday formed a committee to serve as the legitimate parliament in defiance of the military cabinet.

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