February 5, 2021 2:51:09 pm
A key figure in Myanmar’s National League for Democracy party (NLD), Win Htein was arrested in the early hours of Friday morning.
It follows the detention earlier this week of deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint after the military seized power on Monday.
Who is Win Htein?
Win Htein is widely viewed as Suu Kyi’s right-hand man.
The 79-year-old NLD stalwart is a longtime political prisoner. He has spent lengthy periods in and out for detention for protesting against military rule.
He was “arrested from his daughter’s house, where he was staying,” said Kyi Toe, a press officer for the NLD.
Ahead of his arrest, Win Htein had said that the military coup was “not wise” and that its leaders “have taken (the country) in the wrong direction.”
“Everyone in the country should oppose as much as they can the actions. They are seeking to take us back to zero by destroying our government,” he told news and business magazine Frontier Myanmar.
What did the UN say?
The United Nations on Thursday called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi.
The 15-member Security Council said in a statement, agreed by consensus, that they “stressed the need to uphold democratic institutions and processes, refrain from violence, and fully respect human rights, fundamental freedoms and the rule of law.”
However, the Council stopped short of describing the military’s actions earlier this week as a coup.
Language in the UN’s statement was softer than the original, in an apparent effort to appease China and Russia.
Both nations have traditionally protected Myanmar from significant council action. China also has significant economic interests in Myanmar as well as ties to the military.
China’s UN mission said Beijing hoped the messages in the Security Council statement “could be heeded by all sides and lead to a positive outcome.”
What happened in the coup?
On Monday, army commander Min Aung Hlaing seized power, citing alleged irregularities in a November election that saw Suu Kyi’s National League of Democracy win in a vote the electoral commission said was fair.
Suu Kyi was detained the same day and has not been seen since. Police have filed charges against the 75-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate for illegally importing and using six walkie-talkie radios, which were found at her home.
What have the economic consequences been?
On Friday, global financial institutions and marketing operations began to distance themselves from the new regime in Myanmar.
Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings said it is terminating its alliance with a top Myanmar conglomerate whose owners, according to the UN, include members of the military. Kirin Holdings said the coup had “shaken the very foundation of the partnership.”
And financial institutions were also reviewing their positions. The International Monetary Fund, which transferred $350 million (€293 million) to Myanmar just days before the coup to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, said it would be “guided by our membership” in deciding whether to recognize the military regime.
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