Myanmar coup latest: Junta issues arrest warrants for celebrities


YANGON/BANGKOK — On Feb. 1, Myanmar’s military detained State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint in the country’s first coup since 1988, bringing an end to a decade of civilian rule.

The Suu Kyi-led National League for Democracy had won a landslide in a general election in November. But the military has claimed the election was marred by fraud.

For all our coverage, visit our Myanmar Coup page.

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Follow the latest developments here (Yangon time):

Friday, April 2

9:00 p.m. Myanmar authorities issue arrest warrants for 20 celebrities including singers, actors, social media influencers and activists, according to a news report on military-owned television. The celebrities are accused of inciting civil servants to participate in the civil disobedience movement and supporting the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, a group formed by elected parliamentarians ousted in the coup. The group has been labeled an “unlawful association” by the junta.

6:00 p.m. Local reports say several citizens who granted interviews to CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward and her crew were arrested on Friday.

11:30 a.m. The Global New Light of Myanmar, a state newspaper that serves as a government mouthpiece, publishes an official statement calling on citizens to return to their native areas of the country. The statement is directed at “some student youths, state service personnel and citizens” who fled to areas controlled by ethnic armed organizations or foreign countries due to alleged “intimidation” by National League for Democracy members and other supporters of the former elected government.

It says the State Administration Council, the official name of the junta that seized power in the Feb. 1 coup, “will arrange their returns … to various regions of Myanmar” and promises they can travel back “without facing action taken in accord with the law.”

The Global New Light of Myanmar, a state newspaper, published this statement from the junta urging people to return to their home areas.

Meanwhile, a source recounts being told by an NLD member that “around 50 young protestors in Sanchaung were surrounded by the security forces” today. The forces allegedly fired 20 times and “at least two people died.”

10:00 a.m. The U.N. Security Council condemns the use of violence against peaceful protesters in Myanmar and the deaths of hundreds of civilians. Its press statement, approved by all 15 council members after intense negotiations, expresses “deep concern at the rapidly deteriorating situation” and reiterates “the need to fully respect human rights and to pursue dialogue and reconciliation in accordance with the will and interests of the people of Myanmar.” The Council also called for “the immediate release of all detainees, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.”

But the council dropped a threat of possible future action against the country’s military.

9:00 a.m. Witnesses in Yangon say seven demonstrators who set fire to booklets containing the constitution were arrested by police the previous day.

Myanmar’s 2008 constitution is set on fire during a protest against the military coup in Yangon on April 1.

  © Reuters

The seven demonstrators were among a number of protesters across the country who welcomed the move by the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the parallel parliament recognized by the Myanmar public, which announced the abolition of the 2008 constitution on Wednesday.

A screen grab taken from a social media video obtained by Reuters shows a man being beaten by security forces and carried away during a night raid in Yangon on April 1.

  © Reuters

7:00 a.m. A 14-year-old Rohingya girl who was illegally staying in India’s northeastern state of Assam is formally deported to Myanmar, according to Indian media. She is said to be the first Rohingya repatriated from India after the Southeast Asian country’s military staged a coup on Feb. 1. The minor entered India two years ago, in the aftermath of the military’s repression against Rakhine state’s Rohingya population. Her family, fearing persecution, fled to a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Thursday, April 1

6:18 p.m. Members of Tokyo’s growing Myanmar immigrant community gather with civil society groups in the capital on Thursday to demand stronger action from the Japanese government on the military regime.

Migrants protesting against the military junta in Myanmar hold a picture of ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi, during a candlelight vigil at a Buddhist temple in Bangkok on Sunday.

6:06 p.m. Aung San Suu Kyi has been charged along with four of her allies with violating the country’s colonial-era official secrets act, her chief lawyer says.

Suu Kyi, three of her deposed cabinet ministers and her detained Australian economic adviser, Sean Turnell, were charged a week ago in a Yangon court, Khin Maung Zaw tells Reuters by phone, adding he learned of the new charge two days ago.

Suu Kyi has been detained since the Feb. 1 coup and is also charged with violating coronavirus protocols, illegally possessing two-way radios and has been accused by the ruling military council of bribery.

4:48 p.m. The U.K. sanctions a Myanmar conglomerate for its close links to the military leadership which Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said is wantonly killing innocent people including children.

Britain imposes sanctions on the Myanmar Economic Corporation for involvement in serious human rights violations by making funds available to the Myanmar military, as well as its association with senior military figures.

“The Myanmar military has sunk to a new low with the wanton killing of innocent people, including children,” Raab says.

4:40 p.m. The lawyer representing ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi and detained President Win Myint says the pair appeared in good health during a court hearing but it was not clear if they were aware of the current situation in the country.

Min Min Soe says she was not able to inform them about what was happening outside and is not allowed to meet her clients in person.

Their hearing was adjourned until April 12, Min Min Soe tells reporters.

Ruby Mart is engulfed in flames, in Yangon, Myanmar in this still image taken from social media video obtained by Reuters, April 1.

  © Reuters

11:57 a.m. The Gandamar Wholesale Shopping Center and Ruby Mart in Yangon went up in flames hours before dawn. No one has claimed responsibility. But speculation is swirling over how the fires started. Both properties are said to be owned by the country’s military, and Gandamar Wholesale is located in a highly secure area controlled by the security forces.

Local observers have expressed doubt on social media that anyone not associated with the military could approach the buildings after the 8 p.m. curfew. The implication is that the security forces may be looking for additional reasons to clamp down on pro-democracy protesters in the city.

Smoke rises from Gandamar Wholesale Shopping Center as it is engulfed in flames, in Yangon, Myanmar in this still image taken from social media video obtained by Reuters, April 1.

  © Reuters

9:30 a.m. Following a United Nations Security Council meeting, the U.K.’s permanent representative at the U.N. has told reporters that the council will “continue to discuss next steps.”

“We think it’s important, as we have been able to do so far, for the council to speak with one voice, to continue our calls for an end to violence, the release of those arbitrarily detained and a return to democracy,” says Ambassador Barbara Woodward. “We’ll give careful consideration to what further steps the council can take to prevent the tatmadaw [the military] from perpetuating this crisis, and we want to consider all measures that are at our at our disposal at this stage.”

China’s permanent representative, Zhang Jun, explained Beijing’s position during the council’s closed-door session, according to the Chinese Mission to the United Nations.

Protesters use slingshots while taking cover behind a barricade in Monywa, Myanmar, on March 29.

  © Reuters

“We hope that all parties in Myanmar can keep calm, exercise restraint, and take actions with a constructive attitude to deescalate and cool down the situation,” the mission quotes Zhang as saying.

China is working with all parties in Myanmar and is “actively engaged in Security Council consensus-building,” according to Zhang. “China emphasizes that all parties in Myanmar should take up the responsibility of maintaining national stability and development, act in the fundamental interests of the people, strive to find a solution to the crisis within the constitutional and legal framework through dialogue and consultation, maintain political and social stability, and continue to advance the democratic transition in Myanmar.”

2:30 a.m. The special envoy of the United Nations secretary-general on Myanmar urges the Security Council to take action in a closed-door session.

“I appeal to this council to consider all available tools to take collective action and do what is right, what the people of Myanmar deserve and prevent a multi-dimensional catastrophe in the heart of Asia,” Christine Schraner Burgener says, according remarks obtained by Nikkei.

She says she hopes to visit the region next week to continue consultation with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other leaders.

“I firmly believe that no ASEAN countries or others sharing their borders with Myanmar would want a failed state as their neighbor,” the envoy says,” according to the remarks. “I count on these regional actors to play their unique and important roles to convince the military what they are aiming for will not work and help navigate an orderly and peaceful way out of this situation.”

2:20 a.m. The U.S. continues to urge China “to use its influence to hold to account those responsible for this military coup,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price tells a news briefing.

“What the junta has done in Burma is not in the interests of the United States,” Price says. “It’s not in the interest of our partners and allies. And it’s not in the interest of Beijing.”

Price says the Myanmar crisis was discussed by the American and Chinese sides in their Alaska meeting as well as by the U.S. with its allies Japan and South Korea.

“I think when it comes to Beijing, the government in Beijing can certainly do more, they can say more, knowing that [China] does have a good deal of influence,” the spokesperson says.

2:00 a.m. Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi have “called for a de-escalation of the situation, a cessation of violence and the commencement of constructive dialogue among all sides,” according to statement from China’s Foreign Ministry on their meeting Wednesday.

Wang notes that Myanmar is an important member of the ASEAN family. He said he was pleased to see and support the bloc’s efforts to maintain its “non-interference” principle and play a positive role in promoting the stability of the situation in Myanmar through the “ASEAN approach,” according to China’s statement.

China is the focus of a flurry of diplomacy this week, as foreign ministers from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as South Korea make successive visits against the backdrop of the Myanmar crisis.

In this picture taken on Feb. 4, Yangon men bang on pots to make a noisy protest against the military coup.

  © Reuters

Wednesday, March 31

11:30 p.m. The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), the parallel parliament recognized by the Myanmar public, has just announced the abolition of the 2008 constitution, in a move that could to improve the chances of support from ethnic armed organizations, who have long demanded the charter be withdrawn.

The CRPH calls for a national “unity government,” outlined in a federal charter that the body said would draw together ethnic armed organizations, lawmakers elected political and civil society groups.

8:00 p.m. The military announces another unilateral ceasefire, this time from April 1 to April 30, to hold peace talks with ethnic groups and celebrate the Thingyan water festival, a New Year holiday in Myanmar. But it gives an exception of “defending from actions that disrupt government security and administration.”

Ko Bo Kyi, joint secretary of the Myanmar-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, expresses skepticism about the announcement.

“Illegal Military did not announce ceasefire with people even though they announced ceasefire with armed groups,” he says in a tweet. “They are still killing and torturing the unarmed people.”

6:00 p.m. The Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), made up of lawmakers from the ousted government, issues a “final call” for civil servants to participate in the Civil Disobedience Movement, or CDM.

CRPH’s statement says the deadline for the CDM is midnight tonight. A “public government” is to emerge in the first week of April, according to the statement.

5:00 p.m. Yangon suffered a blackout after 1:44 p.m., owing to a technical accident, according to a Facebook post from Yangon Electricity Supply Corp. The electricity supply was restored in Yangon around 4:30 p.m.

Power outages were also reported in Naypyidaw and Mandalay. This is the second nationwide blackout since the coup, following an incident on March 5.

4:50 p.m. People in Yangon banged pots and pans on Wednesday in a show of defiance against the ruling junta as a heavily armed convoy escorted a CNN news crew in Yangon. “The phone doesn’t pick the sound well but people were banging pots and pans as our heavily armed convoy drove past,” CNN Chief International Correspondent Clarissa Ward wrote in a social media post.

One Twitter user, identified as San San, wrote that she believed Ward would be shown false evidence by the junta keen to give the impression that the situation was under control. “We are banging pots and pans simultaneously at 1 p.m. to show her peacefully that we all are against the military coup and we are actually not OK!” she tweeted.

1:28 p.m. Khin Maung Zaw, the leader of Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense team says that Min Min Soe, an attorney, has met the detained leader at 11 a.m. virtually. A message from Khin Maung Zaw shared with Nikkei Asia says that Suu Kyi’s “physical situation… seemed good,” citing Min Min Soe. At the meeting, Suu Kyi “officially appointed six lawyers for her defense in cases against her,” the message reads.

It was the first time that Suu Kyi had met any of her defense team since she was detained in the coup on Feb. 1.

Khin Maung Zaw also tells Nikkei the virtual meeting between Suu Kyi and the attorney lasted about 30 minutes, and Suu Kyi seems detained at her own residence. “From the background of the video conference on the screen, it seems to be her own residence [in Naypyidaw],” the leader of defense team adds.

2:50 a.m. Global companies should consider cutting their capital ties with the Myanmar military’s sprawling business interests, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urges.

“Some countries and some companies in various parts of the world have significant investments in enterprises that support the Burmese military,” Blinken tells a news conference. “They should be looking at those investments and reconsidering them as a means of denying the military the financial support it needs to sustain itself against the will of the people.”

1:20 a.m. Presenting the Myanmar military with an ultimatum, however good the international community’s intentions, risks inflaming violence in the country, Russia’s first deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyanskiy, says in a tweet.

Russia, which sent Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin to Myanmar for the weekend Armed Forces Day celebration, has maintained at the U.N. that the Southeast Asian nation’s crisis is an internal affair that needs to be resolved by the Myanmar people.

Tuesday, March 30

11:00 p.m. The Karen National Union, one of Myanmar’s biggest armed ethnic groups, joins other such armies in declaring it will defend itself from government troops. .

“There is no legitimate reason to kill, harm and terrorize innocent people, including women, elders and children, in the dead of night,” the statement says.

The KNU urges the international community “to cut all ties with [Myanmar’s armed forces], including military and economic relationships.”

2:10 p.m. The Committee Representing Union Parliament (CRPH) issues a statement welcoming an announcement by three armed ethnic insurgent groups denouncing the ongoing military violence and pledging to protect the people. “CRPH has called on them to work together for the success of the revolution and establishment of a federal democratic union,” the CRPH statement says.

11:30 a.m. Ethnic armed groups of the northern alliance — Arakan Army, Ta’ang National Liberation Army and Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army — issue a joint statement saying they “strongly condemn the actions of the Myanmar military against unarmed civilians.” The three groups demanded the “Myanmar military to stop killing and violating [the rights of] unarmed civilians and to find a political solution.” They also announced that they will defend the people if the military continues its brutality against civilians.

10:30 a.m. The Committee Representing Union Parliament (CRPH), comprised mainly of former National League for Democracy lawmakers who were elected last November, is asking people to donate money through crowdfunding to support the resistance. So far, the organization has raised $9.2 million, according to a crowdfunding website.

9:00 a.m. Activists call for a “courage strike day,” urging people to throw trash on the streets to express their opposition to the coup.

To catch up on earlier developments, see the last edition of latest updates.

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