Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi detained in early-morning raid

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Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi detained in early-morning raid
Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi looks on as health workers receive a vaccine for the Covid-19 coronavirus at a hospital in Naypyidaw on January 27, 2021.THET AUNG/AFP via Getty Images
  • Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained, a spokesperson told Reuters.
  • Kyi, a former Nobel Peace Prize winner, was reportedly detained along with other political leaders.
  • Myanmar is a fragile democracy with a powerful military that ruled the country for decades.

Myanmar's top political leaders, including Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Mynt, were "taken" in an early-morning raid, a spokesperson for the ruling party told Reuters on Sunday.

"I want to tell our people not to respond rashly and I want them to act according to the law," Myo Nyunt, of the National League for Democracy, told the news wire. He said he also expects to be detained.

Suu Kyi is a former pro-democracy campaigner who spent nearly 15 years under house arrest when Myanmar was ruled directly by its military. She is constitutionally prohibited from serving as president but has been the country's de facto leader since 2015, when Myanmar held its first democratic election in 25 years.

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The country's security forces remain powerful, however - and brutal. In 2017, those forces waged a military campaign against Myanmar's Rohingya minority, forcing more than 740,000 people to flee to neighboring Bangladesh and across the world.

In 2020, the United Nations International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar's leaders to preserve evidence it said could prove allegations of genocide. That ruling came over the objections of Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has sullied her reputation by both justifying and denying the military's actions.

Though Suu Kyi's party won the November 2020 elections, the results have been disputed by the military, Reuters noted, who refused to rule out seizing power itself.

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In a statement, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki expressed alarm at the reports of Suu Kyi's arrest.

"The United States opposes any attempt to alter the outcome of recent elections or impede Myanmar's democratic transition," she said, "and will take action against those responsible if these steps are not reversed."

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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