Violence on Parade: Protests Erupt After Myanmar’s UK Ambassador Locked Out of Embassy

Written by | Thursday, April 8th, 2021

Following his criticism of the junta back home, Myanmar’s ambassador to the UK, Kyaw Zwar Minn, was locked out of the country‘s embassy in London – apparently by his deputy on Wednesday (7 April), who was reported to have taken charge on behalf of the military. “I have been locked out,” he told the press. “It’s a kind of coup, in the middle of London … you can see that they occupy my building,” he said. “This is my building,” he added, amid a small street protest. Since a military coup in February, Myanmar’s army has launched a harsh crackdown on pro-democracy protesters and has been accused of hundreds of extrajudicial executions as well as torture and illegal detentions. London ambassador Kyaw Zwar Minn has broken ranks with the ruling junta in recent weeks, calling for the release of detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Diplomatic sources with knowledge of the matter said that deputy ambassador Chit Win had taken over as charge d’affairs and he and the military attaché had locked the ambassador out of the building. Demonstrators gathered in front of Myanmar’s embassy following reports the military attache seized the building. Kyaw Zwar Minn spoke to the media and the protestors on the street next to the embassy, while police were standing guard. “When I left the embassy, they stormed inside the embassy and took it. They are from the Myanmar military,” Zwar Minn told the press “They said they received instruction from the capital, so they are not going to let me in.” Last month, Minn had called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi and ousted President Win Myint, drawing praise for his “courage” from UK foreign secretary Dominic Raab. Britain has sanctioned members of Myanmar’s military and some of its business interests as a result of the coup, and has demanded the restoration of democracy.
Myanmar’s military, known as the Tatmadaw, arrested Suu Kyi and other members of the ruling National League for Democracy party on 1 February in a coup d’etat, with army general Min Aung Hlaing becoming the country’s de facto leader. Kyaw Zwar Minn had represented Myanmar in London since 2013. He had met with UK’s top diplomat earlier in March to discuss the ongoing crisis in Myanmar, with Raab praising his “courage and patriotism in standing up for what’s right.” Myanmar’s military has engaged in a widespread crackdown against the pro-democracy movement opposed to the coup. The Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) human rights group claims about 600 civilians have been killed since the coup. So far, most Western nations such as the US, UK and Germany have condemned the coup and imposed sanctions on military leaders. China, a traditional ally of the Tatmadaw, has called for Suu Kyi’s release, while Russia has sought to strengthen its ties with the ruling military junta.

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Asia-Pacific · GLOBAL EUROPE

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