In a matter of hours on Monday morning, Myanmar’s short-lived experiment in representative government came to an unceremonious end when the military rounded up the country’s civilian leadership and effectively declared a coup d’état.
With tanks and helicopters, soldiers and police officers, the military seized control of the levers of state — canceling a planned session of Parliament, cutting off internet and telephone networks, and taking control of both the airports and the airwaves.
After a decade of parliamentary elections, democratic reforms and power sharing with a pro-democracy opposition, the military is once again in full charge. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the civilian government, is once again under house arrest. And the fate of 54 million citizens is once again unknown.
Credit…Maung Lonlan/EPA, via Shutterstock
A military helicopter flew above Naypyidaw, the capital, on Monday, as Myanmar Radio and Television rebroadcast news of the coup first announced by the military-owned Myawaddy TV station.
A soldier patrolled a guesthouse where members of Parliament had previously stayed when visiting the capital. Parliament was scheduled this week to hold its first session since the country’s Nov. 8 elections, but the military sought to cancel the vote, claiming fraud.
Soldiers on the streets of Naypyidaw. The capital was moved there from Yangon, formerly Rangoon, in 2005.
Hundreds of police officers were deployed on the streets of Yangon, the country’s largest city and its commercial capital. The authorities also suspended international flights to and from the city’s airport.
The stock market and commercial banks were closed, and long lines were seen at A.T.M.s, like this one in Yangon.
Protests against the Burmese military erupted around the world, including one in Tokyo where demonstrators placed tape over the face of Myanmar’s military chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.
Another protest took place outside the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. The city is home to many refugees from Myanmar.
Some demonstrators, including nationalist Buddhist monks, celebrated the coup in Yangon.
The Sule Pagoda in Yangon on Monday. The stupa has been the site of several pro-democracy protests.