Myanmar ambassador to the UK is barricaded inside his Hampstead home
Myanmar ambassador to the UK is barricaded inside his Hampstead home and supporters are sleeping with pepper spray in fear of regime loyalists breaking in to evict him
- Myanmar’s ambassador to UK has barricaded himself inside Hampstead home
- He said the embassy was ‘seized’ by a military attache in the wake of a coup
- The diplomat is currently hiding in his house with his wife, son and pet dogs
- One source said supporters were sleeping with pepper spray by their pillows
- They fear regime loyalists will break in and forcefully evict those living there
The Myanmar ambassador to the UK has barricaded himself inside his Hampstead home as regime loyalists threaten to evict him.
Kyaw Zwar Minn’s supporters are sleeping with pepper spray by their pillows after he was told to leave the north London house by tomorrow or face prosecution.
Mr Minn previously alleged the embassy was ‘seized’ by a military attache in an ‘unacceptable and disrespectful’ act against Myanmar’s people and the UK.
The diplomat – who is hiding in his house with his wife, son and two golden retrievers – has called for the release of Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s elected leader, after she was detained when the military seized power in a coup on February 1.
A source, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, told The Telegraph: ‘I’m sleeping with pepper spray by my bed in case the regime loyalists try to break in. We are all terrified they will try to force their way into the residence to evict the ambassador.’
Kyaw Zwar Minn’s supporters are sleeping with pepper spray by their pillows after he was told to leave the house in Hampstead, north London, by tomorrow or face prosecution
Mr Minn waits outside the Myanmar embassy with his diplomatic car after being refused entry
Mr Minn said he spent the night in his car after he was locked out of the embassy in Mayfair, central London, last Wednesday, in the hope the UK Government would reinstate his access.
But two members of his former staff delivered a letter to his home on Sunday ordering him to move out by Thursday, he told The Guardian.
Britain offers safe haven to Myanmar’s ousted ambassador after his staff staged a mini-coup and locked him out of the London embassy
Britain has offered safe haven to Myanmar’s ambassador who was ousted in a mini-coup for supporting pro-democracy groups.
Nigel Adams, the UK’s Asia minister, said the government will ‘support’ Kyaw Zwar Minn and ‘ensure his safety and security’ while he remains in this country.
‘I pay tribute to [Minn’s] courage and patriotism,’ Mr Adams tweeted after the pair met in the Foreign Office last Thursday.
The meeting came just a day after Minn’s former deputy Chit Win led staff in a mutiny which saw him locked out of the country’s Mayfair embassy before spending the night asleep in his car outside.
Myanmar’s military rulers also sent official notification to the UK that his diplomatic status had been revoked for refusing to recognise their authority and continuing to support jailed leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Minn said he had stopped obeying orders from the junta last month after he was ordered to return home for criticising them.
Asked yesterday whether he intended to return to his home country, Minn replied: ‘Do you want to see me get killed?’
Speaking to the paper, he revealed his friends and relatives at home were forced into hiding because of his actions.
He added: ‘They are not able to show their face in public because of me. The Foreign Office said that if they invaded our residence the British police could not do anything.
‘People are watching very closely the British government’s next step. They got a lesson from the Myanmar army … now they have to give a lesson back to the army. They have to show their strength.’
The UK has made an offer of safe haven to the ambassador.
Myanmar has been embroiled in unrest since the military carried out a putsch on February 1, disputing the results of an election that resulted in a pro-democracy party winning power.
Citizens have been pushing back against the ruling junta, staging massive demonstrations which have been met with violence by the military and led to the deaths of an estimated 700 people.
More than 3,000 people were detained as the Myanmar military squared off against its opponents in the courts, the streets, and the countryside.
In a further assault on dissent, ousted civilian leader Ms Suu Kyi was hit with a fresh criminal charge on Monday as she appeared by video link before a judge in the Myanmar capital Naypyitaw.
Ms Suu Kyi, who led the government toppled in the military takeover, was accused of breaching a law intended to control the spread of coronavirus, the second such charge against her under the same law.
She is already facing charges of illegally importing walkie-talkies, unlicensed use of them, inciting public unrest and breaking a colonial-era official secrets act that could see her jailed for 14 years.
The junta has also accused Ms Suu Kyi of corruption and presented on state television what it said was evidence that she took bribes. However, her supporters claim the prosecutions are politically motivated tactics to discredit her and attempt to legitimise the coup.
Military personnel participates in a parade on Armed Forces Day in Naypyitaw, Myanmar, March 27
Mourners attend the funeral of Saw Sal Nay Muu, who died after attempting to flee a checkpoint, on April 11
Lawyers for Aung San Suu Kyi, who led the government toppled in the military takeover, allege she is accused of a fresh criminal charge when she appeared by video link before a judge
The generals overthrew Ms Suu Kyi’s government less than three months after she won a landslide victory in a democratic election, and any conviction could see her banned from a future election.
The coup put a halt to the progress Myanmar was making towards greater democratisation after five decades of dictatorship. The takeover and the bloody crackdown on the opposition which has followed has led to calls for an arms embargo on the country and other sanctions that could put pressure on the military.
As of Sunday, 706 protesters and bystanders have been verified as killed in the post-coup crackdown, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), which tracks casualties and arrests.
The group claimed that at least 82 people were killed in the town of Bago on Friday, in one of the deadliest attacks of the post-coup period to have happened so far. The number of dead is expected to grow, they added.
Myanmar coup: How army chief took power from leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s and branded her election win ‘fraudulent’
Myanmar’s military chief took power from the elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup on February 1.
Just hours before the new government was due to be sworn in, the military struck – arresting Suu Kyi, president Win Myint, and many of the country’s most-influential MPs – officially for ‘voter fraud’.
With border closures already in place and international governments distracted by domestic issues and the coronavirus pandemic, they have faced few obstacles.
A year-long state of emergency has been declared, Vice President Myint Swe – a former general – declared leader, and banks shut until further notice.
‘Free’ elections will take place after the state of emergency ends, the military has claimed.
Aung San Suu Kyi (right) was forced from power in a coup, with all of her powers transferred to the country’s commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing (left)
In the weeks since the putsch citizens have been pushing back against the ruling junta, staging massive demonstrations which have been met with violence by the military and led to the deaths of hundreds so far.
The junta has accused Ms Suu Kyi of a flurry of crimes including corruption as it presented on state television what it said was evidence that she took bribes.
Her supporters claim the prosecutions are politically motivated tactics to discredit her and attempt to legitimise the coup.
Myanmar’s military is central to the country’s political life – it led the fight for independence in 1948, formed the country’s first government, and then ruled as a junta for five decades after abandoning democracy in 1962.
That all appeared to change in 2010 with a return to democracy that saw an elected government sworn in – though in reality the military was guaranteed control of key ministries and 25 per cent of seats in parliament.
Free elections held in 2015 saw Ms Suu Kyi’s party win a large majority with the military hammered, amid the belief that she would reform the constitution and remove the military from power altogether.
Soldiers keep watch along a blockaded road near Myanmar’s Parliament in Naypyidaw as the military consolidated control
Politicians not rounded up at their houses were held at a parliamentary dormitory in Naypyidaw, which was placed under armed guard (pictured)
More elections held last year handed an even larger share of power to Ms Suu Kyi, prompting fears among military top-brass that their powers were about to be removed.
The day after the February 1 coup, Myanmar’s top general Min Aung Hliang said it was ‘inevitable’ the military would step in after elections that returned Ms Suu Kyi to power.
Speaking at the first meeting of the new military junta on February 2, said he had been driven to take power due to ‘fraud’ at last year’s vote – a claim that the country’s election regulator has dismissed.
‘Despite the [military’s] repeated requests, this path was chosen inevitably for the country. Until the next government is formed after the upcoming election, we need to steer the country,’ Hliang said.
He added: ‘During the state of emergency, the election and fighting COVID-19 are set priorities.’
Hliang spoke as the military consolidated its grip on power, putting armoured vehicles and troops on the streets of the capital Naypyidaw.
Generals assumed full control of the country despite threats from world leaders – led by President Joe Biden – who said they would impose sanctions and take ‘appropriate action’.
While most countries and international organisations spoke out to condemn the coup, China pointedly dismissed it – with state media calling it a ‘cabinet reshuffle’.
Source: Read Full Article