Feb 2, 2021 - World

In photos: Biden admin denounces Myanmar military "coup" as protests spread in Asia

Photo of a protester holding their middle finger to a sign that says military coup

A Myanmar migrant holds up a poster with the image of Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the Myanmar armed forces, in a demonstration outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok. Photo: Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Tuesday called the military seizure of power in Myanmar and detainment of civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi a coup d'etat as pro-democracy groups protested across Asia.

Driving the news: The official designation will open a broader review of U.S. assistance programs to the Southeast Asian country, which was under military rule before becoming a civilian-led democracy in 2011.

  • Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he talked with President Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken on Tuesday about the coup and stressed his support for sanctions, per the Washington Post.

The big picture: The Myanmar military declared a one-year state of emergency after the detaining de facto civilian leader on Monday in an attempt to thwart November's election results, which Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won by a landslide.

  • "The coup highlights the extent to which the generals ultimately maintained control in Myanmar, despite more than a decade of talk about democratic reforms," AP writes. "Western countries had greeted the move toward democracy enthusiastically, removing sanctions they had in place for years."
  • By Tuesday, people in neighboring Thailand, Nepal and Japan congregated in protests against the coup. Some identified as Myanmar migrants.
  • Protests in Thailand turned into violent clashes with riot police, resulting in three arrests and 14 police injuries, Thai outlet The Nation reports.
Photo of protesters making noise on the street using tins and objects
People bang pans and objects to make noise to protest the military coup in response to a social media campaign in Yangon, Myanmar. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images
Photo of protesters holding up signs in English and Nepalese
Nepalese Citizen Society activists protest against the military coup in Myanmar at Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo: Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Photo of riot police clashing with protesters
Riot police clash with anti-coup protesters and NLD supporters gathered at the Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok. Photo: Peerapon Boonyakiat/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
Photo of protesters holding signs and chanting slogans
Myanmar activists chant slogans during a protest outside the United Nations University building in Tokyo. Photo: Philip FONG/AFP via Getty Images
Photo of protesters holding up signs and three fingers
People hold up images of Myanmar's de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi at a protest outside Maynmar's embassy in Bangkok. Photo: Lauren DeCicca via Getty Images

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