The 75-year-old Suu Kyi, who had formed an uneasy alliance with Myanmar's military since taking control of the government in 2016, was arrested Monday along with other elected ministers from her National League for Democracy (NLD) party in armed, predawn raids. The military, which had tried in the country's Supreme Court to argue that the election results were fraudulent, threatened to "take action" and surrounded the houses of Parliament with soldiers.
She added that the U.S. opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of the November elections, which handed Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) an overwhelming landslide, but sparked allegations of vote irregularities by the routed military-backed party. The country's election commission said there was no evidence of fraud.
Myawaddy TV, which is controlled by the military, announced the takeover and cited a section of the military-drafted constitution that allows the military to take control in times of national emergency. The announcer said the coronavirus crisis and the government's failure to postpone November elections were reasons for the emergency. The military retained significant power under a constitution that also barred Suu Kyi from the presidency, but the position of state counsellor was created for her to lead the government. Last week, military chief General Min Aung Hlaing said Myanmar's 2008 constitution could be "revoked" under certain circumstances.
"In everything we do, we must do not forget to protect the people and workers of Myanmar", said Marianne Vind, vice chair of the European Parliament's Southeast Asia delegation. "This might be reflecting those dynamics and might be somewhat of a coup internally and his way of maintaining power within the military".
Television signals were cut across the country, as was phone and internet access in Naypyitaw, the capital, while passenger flights were grounded.
The military quickly seized control of the country's infrastructure, suspending most television broadcasts and canceling all domestic and global flights, according to reports.
Barbed wire road blocks were set up across Yangon, the largest city, and military units began to appear outside government buildings such as City Hall. Suu Kyi spent years fighting against the Burmese military, winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991 for her efforts.
Former U.S. diplomat Bill Richardson questioned Suu Kyi's ability to lead given that defence.
The military last week signalled it could seize power to settle its claims of irregularities in the polls, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won easily.
Bob Rae, Canada's ambassador to the United Nations, tweeted that Myanmar's military "wrote the Constitution this way so they could do this". But the coup may have dashed any remaining optimism for Myanmar's troubled democracy after a decade of political setbacks and simmering ethnic tension. "Its creditability on the world stage has taken a massive hit".
Watchdog groups fear a further crackdown on human rights defenders, journalists, and activists is coming. Even before the current military takeover critics of the military often faced legal action.
The military of Myanmar overthrew the country's fragile democratic government in a coup d'état on Monday, arresting civilian leaders, shutting off the internet and cutting off flights.
Statements of condemnation for the military's actions have come from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the U.S. State Department and White House, and from several other countries including Australia, India and Singapore.
"Myanmar is an unexpected early test for the Biden administration, which has emphasized human rights and democracy as cornerstones of United States foreign policy", she said. They are working to get a sense of how quickly other countries want to move alongside them, the officials said.