NAfter the military coup in Myanmar (Burma), the United States announced sanctions against senior generals in the Southeast Asian country. President Joe Biden said at the White House on Wednesday that punitive measures also aim to target military family members and companies affiliated with the military. “The army must give up the power it has seized.” Tens of thousands have taken to the streets in Myanmar to protest the impeachment of Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi.
Biden said the first specific targets for the sanctions will be announced later this week. In addition, the United States wants to introduce export controls and prepare more sanctions. The system is also prevented from accessing the nearly one billion dollars (800 million euros well) that exists in the United States. The US President called for a return to democracy and the “immediate” release of all detained politicians and activists, including Suu Kyi and President Win Myint.
Biden demanded the necessity to guarantee basic democratic rights. “The world is watching,” he warned. The United States is prepared to “impose additional measures” and will coordinate this with its international partners. The European Union is already threatening to impose sanctions.
The army in the former Burma returned to power earlier this week. Suu Kyi, whose party clearly won the general election in November, and scores of other politicians have been arrested. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has reportedly been under house arrest ever since – as had been the case during the previous military dictatorship. In the last few years she led a government in which the army also participated.
Violent protests since the coup
Under former President Barack Obama – President Biden – the United States lifted sanctions imposed on Myanmar since 2012. The previous year, after decades of military dictatorship, generals cautiously allowed the country to open up and democratize.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands demonstrated again against the coup to seize power. Protest rallies erupted in cities like Mandalay and Rangoon, just a day after security forces cracked down on cracks. There were many wounded and hundreds of arrests. Since Monday evening, there has been a curfew between 8:00 pm and 4:00 am, and gatherings have been banned in areas severely affected by the protests. In the past, the army always brutally suppressed any resistance.
Suu Kyi has not been seen since her arrest on the night of February 1. The US State Department said on Tuesday that “official and unofficial attempts” were made to reach Suu Kyi. These efforts were rejected. On Tuesday night, security forces stormed the headquarters of Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy and looted it.