Myanmar's UK ambassador 'locked out' of embassy in London

Henrietta Strickland
April 8, 2021

"That's why I'm waiting here", Kyaw Zwar Minn told reporters.

Zwar Minn had previously spoken out against the military in Myanmar, calling for the release of detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Troops opened fire on pro-democracy protesters earlier on Wednesday, killing at least 15 people and wounding dozens, activists and media said.

In the aftermath of Kyaw Zwar Minn's statement, Myanmar's state broadcaster said he had been recalled as ambassador for issuing an unauthorised declaration.

"They are refusing to let me inside".

Britain has been a strong critic of the coup, hitting the military with several sets of sanctions, and its foreign ministry said it was "seeking further information" about the embassy standoff.

Almost 600 civilians have been killed by security forces in the turmoil since the junta seized power from the elected government of Aung San Su Kyi in February, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Wednesday.

"I have been locked out", Mr Minn told Reuters outside the embassy in central London.

"It's a kind of coup, in the middle of London. you can see that they occupy my building". The ambassador has been locked out since then.

Four diplomatic sources with knowledge of the matter said that deputy ambassador Chit Win has taken over as charge d'affairs and he and the military attaché had locked the ambassador out of the building.

They have used rubber bullets and live rounds to break up rallies and used night raids to arrest suspected dissidents.

Global powers have voiced anger and dismay at the junta's brutal approach, and imposed sanctions on key officials.

A group representing the ousted civilian government on Wednesday began talks with United Nations investigators, saying it had gathered over 270,000 pieces of evidence showing rights abuses by the junta.

A lawyer for the committee for representing pyidaungsu hluttaw (CRPH), a group of MPs from Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party met the investigators to discuss alleged atrocities.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) advocacy group, 581 people, including dozens of children, have been shot dead by troops and police in nearly daily unrest since the coup, and security forces have arrested close to 3,500 people, with 2,750 still detained.

The military was now focusing its crackdown on rural areas, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) said on Wednesday.

They include more than 540 extrajudicial executions, 10 deaths of prisoners in custody, torture, illegal detentions and disproportionate use of force against peaceful protests, the statement said.

With print media also halted, protesters have sought other ways to get their message across, producing their own A4-sized daily news pamphlets that are shared digitally and printed for distribution among the public.

The military has defended seizing power, pointing to allegations of voting fraud in the November election which Suu Kyi's party won comfortably, and says it is responding proportionately to the demonstrations.

The US. Embassy in Yangon said it had received reports of "handmade 'sound bombs, ' or fireworks meant to create noise and cause minimal damage".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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